The Braves opened Grapefruit League play this weekend with a pair of long road games in Port St Lucie (Mets) and West Palm Beach (Astros), dropping both contests. That said, the Atlanta lineup pretty much had two regulars in it in those two games, but are expected to see the full complement of regulars starting today as the Nationals come to Disney for the final Home Opener at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
While the club suffered a pair of losses, there’s plenty of good to come from a number of different arms we got to view make their spring debuts. Starting on Saturday, we saw Touki Toussaint pound the strike zone early and often, tossing a 1-2-3 bottom of the first. Fastball looked sharp, sitting in the mid 90’s, while the curveball had a lot of bite to it. Toussaint did allow a two run homer to Pete Alonso, who led the Minors with 36 homers last year and is one of the Mets top offensive prospects.
Then on Sunday, it was Mike Foltynewicz’s turn, as he surrendered one un-earned run over two innings of work. Most often, for a first time out, pitchers focus solely on fastball command. But we saw Folty mix in the slider which was extremely effective, along with the change and a few cutters as well. Bryse Wilson, who got limited Big League experience a year ago also pitched a couple of impressive innings after a rough performance from Luke Jackson. But perhaps the most intriguing name to take the hill for the Braves yesterday was young southpaw Kyle Muller. The big 6’6 lefty tossed a scoreless frame with his heater sitting in the mid 90’s, topping out at 96.
As for today, the Braves will take on Patrick Corbin and the Nationals at Disney as they being the final season at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. Atlanta will counter with former lefty Max Fried who makes his season debut, competing for a spot in either the Braves rotation or bullpen. As was the case for the Braves this weekend, don’t expect a lot of big Nationals names to make the three hour bus trip up the Turnpike this afternoon. Ben Ingram will have the call alongside the Hall of Famer Don Sutton this afternoon on 1340am and 103.7fm in Atlanta.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet