Foltynewicz knows he's a work in progress

Foltynewicz knows he's a work in progress

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz has made a concerted effort to do whatever he can to prevent his thoughts and emotions from adversely affecting his tremendous physical talents. But as he exited in the fourth inning of Friday's 5-4 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park, he showed yet again that he is not yet a polished product.

"It's something he's going to have to continue to work at, because this kid's stuff is too good to not be very successful, and he will be," manager Brian Snitker said after Foltynewicz allowed two earned runs on six hits and three walks over 3 2/3 innings.

Making his season debut, Foltynewicz seemed to quell his emotions as he stranded a baserunner in both of the first two innings and then limited the damage to one run after the Pirates put runners at the corners with one out and the heart of their lineup coming up in the third. But after surrenndering Starling Marte's two-out RBI single in the fourth, he issued consecutive walks and departed, having already totaled 91 pitches.

"I think I was just trying to be too perfect with a lot of my pitches early on in the count and then I think I just got too excited when I got two strikes, and I left a lot of pitches over the plate, some in [run-producing situations]," Foltynewicz said. "That's not what we're looking for in that situation."

Considering the game-time temperature was 37 degrees and that snow occasionally fell during the early innings, there were some uncontrollable variables that influenced the high pitch count. More bothersome was the grooved 1-2 fastball that led to Marte's RBI single and the fact that this hit seemed to have a lingering effect, as the two walks immediately followed.

"It just kind of got away from him a little bit today," Snitker said. "His stuff was good. He left a ball out over the plate to Marte for that two-out RBI right there. The inning just kind of got away from him. He was missing a little bit. He's still got to work on going pitch to pitch. You can't do anything more about a pitch after you throw it, so you've got to get ready for the next one."

Foltynewicz walked away from this start knowing he must be aware of his body language. During Friday's outing, he once again found it hard to hide his displeasure after not getting a few calls he wanted on borderline pitches.

"I've been trying real hard to work on that, but you've got to go about your business the way you can," he said. "Today I didn't show what I've been working on, but I'm slowly getting there. This was game one. The energy was up, the hype was up, and I was just excited to get out there. Sometimes that happens to me."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.