Hey, a complete game! Sure, it was against a team with the worst team OPS in the last month — .544! — but I’m sure Mike Foltynewicz will see it as a step forward, and the more confidence the better. Great for Folty, and great for the bullpen. They are now fully rested for one last game against the Giants with an off-day after that.
Let’s talk about Charlie Culberson. Through the end of April, Culberson was an offensive nothing. In that month, he had 3 hits in 27 ABs — a .111/.226/.148 line — and Ryan Flaherty was the apple of folks’ eyes. And with his career production to that point, you had to have thought that Culberson may not be on the roster come September. But he went 2-5 on May 3rd, and he never looked back. Since then, he has a .300/.340/.535 triple slash, a .875 OPS. He’s also played 7 positions, including pitcher. The only positions he hasn’t played are CF and C. I’m not sure he’ll get behind the plate, but I’d love for him to play CF and add a position. And of course, he’s hit some of the biggest home runs of the year for us. Oh, and he’s pretty much matched Matt Kemp’s value in about 200 less PAs. I think we did well on that trade.
Back to Folty. He hasn’t matched his first half performance overall in the second half, but being able to grind an entire season has been a big step in his development. And in his last 6 starts, he has a 1.71 ERA, pitching at least 6 innings in each, including 7, 8, and 9 inning starts. This is his 4th straight start with at least 5 days rest (first time all season), and he’s heading into a potential postseason run pitching as well as he did in the first half.
If you didn’t know how Ozzie Albies would complete his first full season, meaning you wouldn’t know that he had a .988 OPS at the end of April or he would have 22 HRs on September 12th, and I just told you he had a .779 OPS, plus speed, great defense, and a 3.7 fWAR at this time, would that surprise you? I don’t think it would surprise me. I think we’ve gotten slightly above average offense (106 wRC+) and the speed and defense we expected.
One more against the Giants and then a day off.
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