I still love, Max. Last time he was great, this time he started off good by not great. He went deep into counts but scraped by through three. The dam finally burst in the 4 th after Fried got the first two outs. Four straight hits later, the D’Backs had a 2-0 lead and Max’s ERA finally went above 0.00. He didn’t look good and totally lost his rhythm – the hitters caught up to his FB and then he threw too many curves. Several hard hit balls pretty much all on the ground. Ender had a chance to bail him out on a sinking line drive but couldn’t make the catch letting the ball bounce out of his glove on the dive.
The problem was that the Braves could do nothing at the plate off Ray early (a Dansby pickoff didn’t help) through the first three innings. I mean they looked pitiful. The only hit they had was a dink by Ender. And then there was …… Acuna-time. Acuna walked his first time and I’m not sure they shouldn’t walk him every time. He does love to golf the low balls. Camargo followed with double smoked to right-center but TFlow struck out and the Braves were still behind 2-1.
After a shaky but scoreless 5 th, Max, himself, got the rally started with a single in the bottom half and scored after Albies singled and Freddie smoked a double into the corner. The D’Backs did the logical thing and walked Acuna but that means you need to pitch to Camargo with the bases loaded. No one should ever do that; Camargo is a hitting machine with men on base and a chance to take the lead – he NEVER fails. And sure enough, Johan smacked a double to left center clearing the bases for a big inning against Ray. Johan is 3/3 with the bases loaded……
Fried had his best inning in the 6 th and left the game having not quite thrown 100 pitches but giving up 2 runs in 6 innings for another quality start. What’s really astounding is that, but for a ball Ender couldn’t hold onto (but does about 70% of the time), Fried could have had another shutout performance
obviously without his best stuff. No Braves pitcher has performed as well as Max yet.
I wanted to end it right here saying the rest of the game was boring, but that would ignore the existence of the Braves incendiary bullpen. Sobotka, Biddle, and Jackson just plain gave away the game – 2 HBP, 3 W, and 2 singles and 4 runs. Sobotka and Biddle never got an out. Even a game-tying HR by Ozzie couldn’t stop the bleeding. After a scary but decent inning by Carle, Minter came and promptly served up a gopher-ball to Walker and the Braves were down for the count and out. A very depressing game as the Braves had no business losing this one.