In tonight’s edition of “Where is the 2020 Version,” we highlight Max Fried. Last year, it seemed Max had turned the corner. He had his lowest ERA, FIP, WHIP, and home run rate of his career in 56 IP. That was good enough to put him 5th in the Cy Young voting in the short season.
This year, he hasn’t been quite as dominant. His 4.62 ERA in a similar amount of innings pitched is much less inspiring than his performance last year, though his FIP is better (3.62). He didn’t pitch poorly this afternoon, but against a Miami lineup that is far from one of the bests in the league, he gave up the gopher ball twice, 4 hits total, and ended up with 3 earned runs in 6 innings. Like I said, not a bad outing at all, but you’d like to have seen a more dominant performance against this lineup.
But it’s hard to win when you don’t score much. Freddie Freeman hit his 15th home run, and that was the totality of the scoring. As bad as Freddie has been relative to this career norms, he’s at least on pace for 39 home runs, which is a lot more than 25. If you prefer the rudimentary statistics, he’s also on pace for 92 RBIs. Freddie had 2 hits, but also hit a rocket that had so much top spin that it fooled Adam Duvall, resulting in an error since it hit his glove. Abraham Almonte contributed a single and a double, Acuna and Fried had singles, and that was all she wrote for this collection of Punch and Judy hitters.
Speaking of Adam Duvall, he hit his 12th home run, a bomb off Fried. Duvall has a 81 OPS+, so I think the frustrations over not retaining him are a little exaggerated. However, I would really like to know what has happened with the Braves’ finances and how they went from paying him $3M to essentially stash him in AAA in 2019 to not even giving him a roster spot in 2021 after a great 2020. He’s sort of the poster child for how much the depth of the roster was stripped back this year.
In what was a microcosm of our season, the Marlins tacked on an insurance run in the 8th with this humorous sequence: Starling Marte grounds to Freddie who had to range from the bag quite a ways. Edgar Santana didn’t quite make it to the bag in time while Freddie inexplicably under-hands the ball, and Marte was safe. Next pitch, Marte steals second as Contreras throws the ball into centerfield about six feet over everyone’s head. Jesus Aguilar then check-swings a ball over Freddie’s head into right field for a single, scoring Marte. If we didn’t have bad luck, we’d have no luck at all.
Well, we suck, right? We’re in mid June and we’re on pace for 76 wins. Those are the facts, and they’re not based on sample size. I’m not sure what can be done about this team right now. I’ll try tequila next.