Texas Rangers: Mike Foltynewicz had his best start of the year so far vs. Astros
By Seth Carlson
Maybe it was the pony tail.
With Adolis Garcia running rampant across baseball diamonds and news headlines in a weekend that featured a Texas Rangers sweep of the Astros, it’s easy to overlook one crucial aspect: Mike Foltynewicz had his best start of the season on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Foltynewicz, signed by the Texas Rangers to a one-year, incentive-laden deal for the 2021 season worth up to $5 million, has been disappointing most of the season to date, with a 4.53 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 55.2 innings pitched across 10 starts.
Those stats are a far cry from All-Star Folty, the ace pitcher who led the Atlanta Braves to an NL East Division title in 2018 and started playoff games for them.
While the Texas Rangers knew he wasn’t expected to reach that top form this season, I think it’s fair to say that they did expect slightly more out of their third starter behind Kyle Gibson and Dane Dunning than they’ve gotten.
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Once a high octane, strikeout pitcher, Folty now ranks solidly below-average in most categories according to Baseball Savant, except in fastball velocity and walk rate where he ranks slightly above average. Other metrics such as xERA, K%, chase rate, barrel percentage and exit velocity of balls hit off his pitches have shone a less than stellar light on the veteran right-hander in 2021.
So when he twirled seven shutout innings for the Texas Rangers on Sunday, he took a major step forward in his season, flashing at least some of the potential that made the organization want to take a chance on him.
In the seven frames, Folty allowed just three hits and two walks while punching out two batters and preventing any Astro from crossing home plate under his watch.
Mike Foltynewicz had his best start of the season so far for the Texas Rangers on Sunday against the Houston Astros.
The Rangers gave Folty a lead in the game in the 5th inning courtesy of a Nate Lowe bases loaded walk, and ironically, leads have given him trouble all season.
Sunday’s start against Houston reversed that trend, as he threw a shutdown inning against the Astros in the 6th to notch that all important 0 after your team scores.
It had to be a rewarding and satisfying accomplishment for Folty to finally get over the shutdown inning hump, while also recording his best start of the season.
His next will come in Seattle against the Mariners, and we can’t wait to see if his recent adjustments stick.