Braves' Mike Foltynewicz Demoted to Triple-A 1 Season After Making All-Star Team

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2019

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz throws to the Washington Nationals during a baseball game, Saturday, June 22, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

The Atlanta Braves optioned pitcher Mike Foltynewicz to Triple-A and called up reliever Chad Sobotka after the 2018 All-Star gave up eight runs in Saturday's win over the Washington Nationals.

"I've got a 7 ERA on a first-place team," Foltynewicz told reporters. "It's just tough. I'm battling every night. It's just tough. It's just the person I am. I'm going to wear that stuff on my sleeve, especially when things aren't going my way. It's just tough. It's all my fault, too."

Foltynewicz, 27, is 2-5 with a 6.37 ERA through 11 starts. He began the season on the disabled list with a bone spur in his elbow and has not been able to find his form. Saturday was the second time this season Foltynewicz has given up at least eight runs.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said Foltynewicz has also struggled to control his emotions amid his struggles.

"I thought he had turned the corner, but I'm seeing signs this year of him going right back to where he was two or three years ago," Snitker told reporters. "Nobody can take care of that other than him. He has to be the one who controls that."

The Braves will hope a short stint in the minors will help Foltynewicz regain his confidence and push him back to 2018 performance levels. Foltynewicz went 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA and 1.08 WHIP last season while striking out 202 batters in 183 innings. It was by far the strongest year of his career, earning him an All-Star berth and positioning him as a potential cornerstone of the Braves rotation.

The 2019 campaign has been the polar opposite from the outset and arguably a mean regression to his previous performance level. Before 2018, Foltynewicz never posted an ERA lower than 4.31 or struck out more batters than he had innings pitched.

Sobotka, 25, has been rocked for 13 runs (11 earned) in 12 innings pitched at the MLB level this season.