Max Fried, y’all.
I mean what more is there to say? The Braves needed somebody to grab this game (and season) by the scruff of the neck after back-to-back tough losses in the middle of a grueling road trip, and Fried delivered. Actually, delivered would be putting it mildly to describe a three-hit complete game shutout on 98 pitches in a 4-0 win for the Braves.
Fried dominated. Crushed it. Threw a gem. Produced the best Braves pitching performance of 2021. Completely saved the bullpen. Potentially saved the season.
None of it is hyperbole.
- Let’s dive a little deeper. Fried retired 23 of the final 24 batters he faced and did not surrender a hita after the third inning. He had the Padres off-balanced and making soft contact all night. 25 of his 27 outs were on the infield, with 19 groundball outs, two pop-outs to infielders and four strikeouts. His curveball was dancing and his fastball was crisp. Just a herculean effort from Max when the Braves needed it the most, and he did it all in his first start at Petco Park since the Padres traded him.
- Dansby Swanson is finally back in the home run column, and made a run-saving defensive stop in the 4th. If Swanson homers three times over the final nine games, all four Atlanta infielders will break the 30 plateau.
- Six different Braves recorded hits tonight. That’s balance.
- How nice was it to watch a game knowing the bullpen wasn’t going to have to get involved and knowing there wouldn’t be any real stress? I could get used to that.
- The Padres had to dig far into their bullpen while the Braves did not use a reliever in this game, so that’s a head start on tomorrow.
- Adam Duvall literally traveled back in time and hit a home run for the Braves in a game where he was playing for the Marlins at the time in game one of the day. Or something like that.
- Nothing negative to report from game two, but we do have to talk about the elephant in the room from game one. Once again Will Smith came into a tie game, and once again the game was no longer tied when he left the mound. That is five homers allowed in his last 12 outings and seven in his last 20. At what point is enough just enough with this?
Former Brave Of The Day:
Well we certainly know who the former Padre of the day is, but I’ll give the former Brave nod to Craig Kimbrel, who struck out the side in an inning for the postseason-bound White Sox in their 1-0 win in Cleveland.
Quote Of The Game:
“Regardless of where you’re pitching, regardless of what goes on before or after your game, you still have to be ready.”
— Greg Maddux
The Braves have had fantastic success over the years against tomorrow’s San Diego starter Vince Velasquez from when he was with the Phillies. Keep that up.