|Foltynewicz faces challenge of homer-hitting Phillies|
The Philadelphia Phillies have been on a home run binge, which may be bad news for Atlanta Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz when the teams meet Sunday in the finale of a three-game series at Atlanta's SunTrust Park.
Foltynewicz (1-5, 6.02 ERA) will take the ball and attempt to turn around his inconsistent season, which has been laden with gopher balls. Philadelphia said it would recall left-hander Cole Irvin (2-1, 5.48) from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and he is considered the likely starter, although no official announcement was made.
The first two games of the series have been decided in the ninth inning.
The Braves rallied for a walk-off win on Friday, but the Phillies turned the tables with a ninth-inning comeback on Saturday that ended Atlanta's eight-game winning streak. Atlanta holds a 1 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia in the N.L. East, but the Phillies have won four of the five meetings between the teams this season.
Philadelphia, already staggered by injuries, may have lost two more players on Saturday.
Outfielder Jay Bruce left Saturday's game in the fourth inning with left hamstring tightness. Manager Gabe Kapler said Bruce has been dealing with the hamstring issue for a few days and that his status would be a "day-to-day thing."
Catcher J.T. Realmuto had to leave the game after taking a foul ball to the groin and is expected to get the day off.
Foltynewicz did not receive a decision on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He pitched five innings and allowed four runs on five hits, although no home runs.
Over his last three starts, Foltynewicz has given up 12 runs in 16 innings, along with five home runs. He has been touched for 15 homers this season, only two fewer than he gave up in 31 starts in 2018.
"Sometimes during the season you lose a pitch here and there, but it's going to come back," Foltynewicz said. "We're professional athletes, so we know what we've got to do to make adjustments, so I'll find out quick."
Foltynewicz was on the injured list when the Braves began the season in Philadelphia, so he will be making his first appearance against the Phillies in 2019. He was 3-1 with a 2.04 ERA against the Phillies last season in six starts. Foltynewicz has made 13 career appearances against Philadelphia, 12 starts, going 6-3 with a 3.28 ERA.
Bryce Harper, who already has a home run in the series, is hitting .261 with two doubles and two homers against Foltynewicz, but he has also struck out 10 times in 23 at-bats. But Philadelphia's hottest hitter this series has been Scott Kingery, who is 6-for-7 with three RBI and three runs scored.
Irvin made three starts in May and went 2-1 with a 5.48 ERA before being sent down. In eight starts at Lehigh Valley, Irvin is 2-0 with a 2.44 ERA.
Irvin will be taking the spot normally filled by Jerad Eickhoff, who was moved to the bullpen after surrendering five homers in three-plus innings on Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Eickhoff is 1-3 with an 8.89 ERA in his last six starts, giving up 16 homers over 27 1/3 innings.
Eickhoff said, "Obvious frustrated, but in the grand scheme of things, I wasn't getting the job done."
The two clubs will play again on July 2-4 in Atlanta and July 26-28 in Philadelphia. They play seven times in the final 18 games of the season.
--Field Level Media