The Atlanta Braves have moved past their worst losing streak of the season and are in a position to win a third straight home series, but getting there is probably going to require their next starter to overcome his own struggles.
Mike Foltynewicz will try to get past allowing 13 runs in 9 1-3 innings over his last two starts Tuesday night against the visiting Colorado Rockies, who can't be certain what they'll get from returning starter Chad Bettis.
Foltynewicz (4-5, 6.06 ERA) has gone through plenty of hard times this season, but those are probably at their peak after the right-hander gave up a career-high seven runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings of Thursday's 7-1 loss at Wrigley Field. He also came an out shy of making it through five innings in his previous start, surrendering six runs and nine hits to Arizona in an 8-4 loss.
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In 27 innings over five starts since the All-Star break, the 23-year-old has given up nine home runs after surrendering eight in 54 2-3 innings of nine starts and three relief efforts before that.
"I've just got to refine the off-speed (pitches) a little better and I think I'm heading in the right direction," Foltynewicz told MLB's official website after facing the Cubs. "They just came out swinging it pretty well tonight."
Carlos Gonzalez is 2 for 2 against him, but the Colorado slugger is day to day with right knee soreness after being removed from Monday's 5-3 loss.
Bettis is coming off the disabled list having been sidelined since July 18 due to elbow inflammation. The right-hander knows he's going to spend the last month-plus of the season auditioning for the Rockies' up-for-grabs 2016 rotation.
"It's huge," Bettis said. "One, to show that I'm healthy again. Two, to show that I didn't miss a beat. It's going to be big."
In two rehab starts split between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Albuquerque, Bettis (5-4, 4.88) gave up five hits in 8 1-3 scoreless innings while walking two and striking out 11.
The 26-year-old got off to a promising start with a 3-2 record, 3.44 ERA and 2.72 walks per nine innings in his first eight starts this season, but he fell off to 2-2 with a 7.62 ERA and 5.19 walks per nine in his last five before heading to the DL.
The second to last came against the Braves as Bettis yielded three runs and three hits in six innings of an 11-3 home victory on July 12. It was his third outing in the series with Bettis going 1-1 with an 8.25 ERA and 11 walks in 12 innings.
Atlanta (54-71) snapped a seven-game skid overall and a six-gamer against Colorado in the opener. Nick Markakis was 3 for 5 and is batting .407 in his last six contests, while Cameron Maybin had his fourth straight two-hit game at Turner Field.
Andrelton Simmons (sore left knee) didn't start for the second straight game, but manager Fredi Gonzalez said the shortstop is expected to start Tuesday.
The Rockies (49-74) have dropped 12 of 14, four straight and five in a row on the road while batting .158. They're 25 games under .500 for the sixth season in franchise history and third time in the last four years.
Charlie Blackmon homered Monday and is batting .395 on a 10-game hitting streak.