Ozzie Albies continued his scorching stretch of extra-base hits—blasting two home runs—as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 9-5. Atlanta started the game strong offensively, scoring six runs in the second inning. Mike Foltynewicz was continuing his season-long domination against hitters through six strong innings. However, in the seventh, his habit to give up big innings reared its head, allowing five runs.

Atlanta improved to 51-40 on the season. Toronto fell to 42-49.

Ozzie Albies Dazzles as Atlanta Braves Split Series with Toronto Blue Jays

Ozzie Albies Is Carrying the Atlanta Offense

The Atlanta Braves are currently going through a power drought. Over their last 28 games, they’ve hit 22 home runs, placing them 12th in the National League over that time span. Their home run per fly ball rate is even worse, ranking 13th in the league at a paltry 10.3%.

This has not been an issue with Ozzie Albies, however. In fact, Albies leads the team in that time frame with five home runs, including two mammoth shots in this game. After starting the game with a fly out and a strikeout, Albies scorched an 0-1 changeup over the Chop House in right field off Toronto reliever Luis Santos. This increased the Braves lead to 7-0. Toronto would put up a big inning in the seventh, pushing five runs across the plate. Toronto’s late comeback push anchored Albies’ heroics in the bottom of the eighth. With only three outs for a victory, the necessity for insurance runs were dire. Albies would deliver, smashing a line drive that thrashed over the center field fence. Now a four-run lead, Arodys Vizcaino finished the game with a perfect ninth inning.

The bitter result of Albies’ success is that it shines light on the fact that power is not coming elsewhere in the Atlanta lineup right now, including tonight. With that said, Ozzie Albies is continuously getting extra-bases every time he puts bat on ball. He added to his majors-leading extra-base hit total, an podium he’s half all season long. Now the rest of the Atlanta offense has to follow suit.

Mike Foltynewicz Continues His Strange Breakout Season

Mike Foltynewicz has been more dominant than the numbers show during his breakout season. He ranks in the top-ten in almost every important pitching category in the National League. Yet, the peculiarity behind his numbers intensifies when you consider the fact that 38% of his runs allowed—11 of 29—came in two innings combined. Just two. Foltynewicz continued his weird trend to be dominant but also prone to giving up big innings in this game.

Foltynewicz was cruising through the first six innings. He threw 71 pitches in those six, allowing one hit with four strikeouts against two walks. Again, Foltynewicz had completed five innings allowing one run or less, his 12th such start of the season. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker allowed Foltynewicz to pitch the seventh inning. This wasn’t a surprise. The score was 7-0 and the pitcher is on pace to throw a complete game shutout. In other words, with Foltynewicz, it becomes an interesting situation.

Another Inning from Hell

First, as mentioned earlier, Foltynewicz has the ability to sometimes allow big innings to happen. It’s the reason why his breakout stats aren’t even better. Second, this was only going to be the third time in his eighteen starts where he pitched in the seventh inning. Justin Smoak started the inning by hitting Foltynewicz’s second pitch over the right field wall. Then—after two strikeouts—Toronto put together three consecutive singles before Devon Travis‘s grand slam to center field. Foltynewicz went from completing what would have been only his third seventh inning of the season to walking to the dugout with an out left, and five runs on his ledger. Sam Freeman would relieve the final out and Toronto would not score another run.

Mike Foltynewicz is the ace of this young Braves pitching staff. He has all the stats to prove it. With this in mind, he is missing that ability to prolong his starts. Baseball has become a game where starters are throwing less innings and rarely facing the third time through the order. Yet, Foltynewicz has been the most consistent pitcher in the National League this season. That is, when you factor out the three innings that resulted in 47% of his runs allowed to be scored. To become that next level pitcher, he has to be that anchor in the Braves rotation. That starts be stretching starts out and not allowing big innings to take place.

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