Fried gem gets Braves back in win column

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. 

Positives: 

  • 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. 

Negatives: 

  • 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 

Tomorrow’s Goal: 

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.

112 thoughts on “Fried gem gets Braves back in win column”

  1. Thank you, Alan.

    Max Fried
    you find yourself succumbing to greed
    that balance in perpetuity
    passed on to others, eternal congruity.

    Offensively, Dansby’s early homer deserves a deal of thought and appreciation. Without it, Ozzie’s steal of first and subsequent consummation would have to stretch and stand alone through a long night till a second single run arrived nearly two empty hours later. It was priceless for Max as he would have agreed and felt a whole lot better for it. Dans too!

  2. It’s the anniversary of Jose Fernandez’s death. And while I’ve never spoken aloud about it, I can’t deny that celebrating the man bothers me. He took 2 other men’s lives that night because he was drunk, high on cocaine, and driving his boat 90MPH at 3AM in the morning. He died leaving his newborn daughter behind to grow up without a dad, and his 2 friends’ families also had to wake up that next morning without their loved one. Yet, we celebrate his death like he was a hero when, really, he created a lifetime of sorrow for many people and would’ve been facing manslaughter charges if he’d lived and likely would’ve never pitched another day in baseball.

    Now think about how we as fans judge Marcell Ozuna (and rightfully so) yet rarely does anyone speak an ill word about Jose.

    Sorry for being so heavy but this bothers me and I just needed to get it off my mind and Braves Journal is about the only place I could do it where I wouldn’t get blasted.

  3. @2

    Wow, that was very well said. I’ve run the full gambit of emotions on Fernandez. I normally couldn’t care less about celebrity deaths, but I shed a tear when he passed away. But then as everything came out, I found myself feeling the same way you do.

    The Marlins’ are in a tough spot. He was a beloved player, he is missed by a huge chunk of the fanbase, and they can’t just act like he never existed. Many, many reprehensible athletes have passed away, but Fernandez is the rare example where he passed away in the act of being reprehensible, and to your point, it’s very hard to divorce the two.

  4. If you’ve looked at Baseball Reference or other such sites, you’ll find that the first game has been retconned into being completed the day it started, on July 21st. This means that the Braves now have a loss that they didn’t take for two months on their record, and that they’re now shown as half a game further behind/ less ahead than previously (ie, going into yesterday the Braves were 2 games ahead but now are shown as having been 1 1/2 games ahead). Duvall’s home run wasn’t his 38th of the season but his 22nd… as a Marlin? (On his personal stats, it is shown correctly as his 16th HR as a Brave.)

  5. @7: But if that’s the case, it was always going to be destroyed. A win would’ve done the same thing in the other direction. It’s honestly a good thing that no important streak was harmed by this. Freddie Freeman had a nine-game homer streak, let’s say, but he didn’t homer in this game, the first part of which happened in the middle of it, so bye-bye Major League homer streak record.

    Also, agreed on Fernandez. It’s almost like people were locked into how they felt the day after it happened and refused to take the new information into consideration. I honestly think it would just be better if he was never mentioned again outside of matter-of-factly when necessary (“This guy was the first Marlins pitcher to do X since Jose Fernandez,” for instance, and then just leave it right there with no additional commentary on Fernandez.) But if you’re gonna insist on bringing him and the situation up, at least let’s not act like he’s Roberto freaking Clemente…which I’m sorry to say is where most of the discourse is now.

  6. Ryan, I hear you. I’d push back, gently. I think you’re right that it’s unseemly to celebrate a man who essentially died while drunk driving. But I don’t feel the anger that you have. I just think it’s a horrible tragedy. As great a tragedy as the boat crash that killed Bobby Ojeda, Tim Crews, and Steve Olin, or the cocaine overdose that killed Lenny Bias. Fernandez wasn’t a martyr or a saint like Roberto Clemente, but as Mac once pointed out about Yunel Escobar, it’s not hard to imagine that he had some fairly deep scars relating to the experience of defection — as we’ve learned from the stories of Yunel and especially Yasiel Puig, the defection of experience Cuban baseball players is pretty literally traumatic.

    So I don’t celebrate him, and I don’t like the idea of talking about him while pretending that the bad things didn’t happen. (I hate that people do that with Kobe Bryant, too.) But I find it hard to feel as angry at him as you seem to be.

  7. Regarding Snitker and Smith… if the Braves win the division, Snitker’s job is as safe as any in the league, and if they collapse, I think the immediate reaction around baseball will be that it was a miracle that the team did as well as they did without Acuña and Ozuna. I don’t think he’s going anywhere, and I think that’s fine. His strengths and weaknesses are pretty well-established.

    The coaching staff is probably due for some changes. I’m not quite as anti-Kranitz as CindyJ, but I’m getting there. The pitcher development is a little bit less than it should have been, both in the rotation and in the bullpen, particularly with Toussaint and Ynoa both struggling to consistently harness the promise they showed earlier in the summer.

    Ultimately, though, I think Will Smith is Anthopoulos’s problem. The issue is the same one it’s been all along: the bottom of the 9th is not necessarily where the highest leverage situations will occur. So, either you put him in another high-leverage situation in the 7th or 8th, where he has the exact same possibility of crapping the bed plus the added risk of additional adjustment-related issues, or you essentially give him Josh Tomlin’s old garbage time job. He’s making too much money for garbage time, but if you just swap him in the depth chart with Luke Jackson, he’ll more or less have all the same opportunities to kill the team.

    The ideal solution, of course, would be to “discover” that he’s injured. But if there’s no such luck on the phantom injury front, then at this point, I think the team may have to demote him, because team morale requires that players get promoted and demoted for performance reasons and not just salary reasons — just like moving Soler to the top of the lineup while moving Albies down, and using Rosario more often than Pederson because Rosario’s been hitting better.

    At this point I think Snit has to do something, even if that something is a deckchair-shuffling move like swapping him with Minter. He’s given up too damn many homers in the 9th.

  8. @2 I have a lot of mixed emotions about José. My sadness was….and still ……is about the loss of such a great young talent at the beginning of his career. I still wonder where he would be now. I wonder the same thing about Len Bias. I also, of course, have sadness about the devastated families he left behind (including his little girl that he never got to see). Should we forever ban him from our positive thoughts because he made one terrible decision? Did the 2 young men know he was using coke? Were they using too? Does it make a difference?

    I am from a family of alcoholics. My Dad had a DUI, my grandfather could have had many had the police in our little town not known him. I was a heavy drinker in college. I drove a few times. By the Grace of God I never killed anyone. I was young, arrogant and stupid. I grew up and have had a good life. I’m not a bad person. Maybe a little argumentative and strong willed. My point is that José never got a chance to grow up. He died because of his youthful horrible decisions. I choose to mourn him and what might have been.

    As an aside, do you all remember that he tried to talk Ozuna into going with him? How that decision changed history.

  9. @AAR

    I think you’re misinterpreting my feelings. Angry isn’t the word. If his accident were to have happened this year AND he survived, he’d be getting the same treatment Bauer and Ozuna are getting. Lives were forever changed, his family and two others, because of a senseless act. TBH, I’m more sad about it but than anything else. Sad for their families. Sad that we as a society lack the empathy to what it means to those families when we put Jose on a pedestal every September 25th.

    Also, I rarely… rarely get angry. And when I do, it’s usually at myself for doing something stupid….but not “put others in danger” stupid.

  10. @11 I feel the same way about Kobe too. I wasn’t sad at all that he died. I was extremely sad that his little girl and the others died with him. Kobe’s fame and money kept him out of jail. It angers me that he was made into such a hero. They crucified the helicopter pilot…..I’ve often wondered if he was ordered to fly that day.

    I had not heard what Mac said about Yunel. I always liked Yunel, mainly because everyone else seemed to dislike him so much. Mac is one of my all time favorites.

  11. @14 You can’t use revisionist history as an argument though. Had José lived I probably would still be sad, but for a different reason. He’s no hero. But he’s not a monster either.

  12. Mr. Fried looks like you got a pair. Well done sir.
    Scott and Trump should also be in jail, but they are heros to many fools. So it goes.
    Will always be so.

  13. @13

    Great post, young lady.

    Re Hernandez and anger…I’m with Ryan, simple, never mind him, he killed 2 other people didn’t he?

  14. @15

    Kobe, yes. I posted at the time ‘live by the sword, die by the sword’. The whole rape investigation debacle was totally corrupt, bought off by either money and/or influence. I also posted he should have let his driver drive them, no rush. So who pays for all that, his sweet blessed daughter. Good riddance to him.

    Celebrity is no defense in these situations. If anything it should imply some semblance of responsibility and common sense.

  15. I’m not sure why celebrity should imply common sense. For the most part, these guys’ education was more or less over by the time they were 15, at which point they became full-time athletic prospects, with every adult in their life solely interested in their progress towards a lucrative pro career.

    (I’d say that’s definitely true for Latin American baseball players and American football and basketball players and, to some extent, Canadian hockey players. Less true for American baseball players. But mutatis mutandis, ceteris paribus, etc.)

    And, in many cases, the coaches/buscones are absolutely flooding their bodies with painkillers and other drugs to keep them on the field or court or rink in the meantime.

    I think a lot of them face an uphill struggle towards a normal life.

  16. @19 Exactly. I also posted about it at the time on social media and was thrown to the wolves. “How dare I speak ill of such a great man?”

  17. That said, Ryan, I owe you an apology for misconstruing your words — I’m sorry.

  18. They keep talking about contract negotiations as being a reason Freddie started slowly. I think that’s nonsense. I think that having newborn twins at home will cause anyone to slump.

  19. It’s probably a combination of a lot of things. The contract, being away from his family during the pandemic (especially the newborn twins), and the fact he’s 31 years old. Enos Sarros wrote an interesting article for the Athletic about how very few top position players are over the age of 33. It’s something to think about.

  20. Could some kind soul tell me how to hook up with MLB Streaming which i’ve just learned is carrying the game and i know nothing about?? I have Peacock and Paramount streaming.

    Meanwhile, what’s the score please?

  21. Fire Snitker. Leaving Ynoa in when he was clearly on the ropes is a move only Chip “The Win Stat Means Everything” Caray could appreciate.

  22. Life was perfect. The Gators and Braves were both on cable TV because the Braves are on Fox. So I could flick back and forth effortlessly on the same app.

    And then Machado hits a grand slam.

  23. I’m much more inclined to defend Snit than many on here, but leaving Ynoa in to face Machado, after loading the bases, third time through the order, is indefensible. Whoever is your most high leverage pitcher should have faced Machado.

    Of course, it’s not clear who that reliever is right now, but almost anyone would have been better there.

  24. @40 Loved him as a player. He is exceedingly grumpy and negative as an announcer. Plus, his anti-vax stance is a turn off.

    I have never been on the fire snit bandwagon but I’m there. I would replace him with Wash at the end of the season. He lost this game, and his refusal to remove Smith as closer is enough.

  25. I can’t speak for Cindy, but Smoltz bugs me as well. He tends to confidently assert things that are not at all obvious. As Cindy pointed out, he said that Donaldson delayed Riley’s development. Also, he asserted that MLB put in the wild card back in 1995 in response to the Giants winning 103 in 1993 and not making the playoffs. Expansion and going to three divisions seems a much more likely reason.

  26. Oh you actually thought the Braves could win 3 of 4 with an idiot running the show.
    It all comes down to the three Braves, Phillies games. At that time we will find out who has the goods. Tonight, tomorrow does not matter.
    But going forward the captain of the ship, and the closer must go. Weaknesses at those two important positions can not be accepted. If the Atlanta Braves fail to win the N L East, those two will have contributed the most to their demise.

  27. @41

    He’d struck out Tatis at least twice with his slider and got Machado 0 and 2 with the same pitch. To that point at least could you not justify him continuing?

  28. The Braves need to get a lead or the Padres will come back again. I think once they are behind they will fold.

    Oddly, the Braves are 5/7 with RISP.

  29. Fwiw, I think Snitker is a very good man. He has improved in many ways as a manager. He just has a pure inability to manage a pitching staff. Leaving a terrible reliever as closer, removing some starters too soon, removing others too late, having this odd idea of using bad relievers when they are only a run behind. So frustrating.

  30. These guys just can’t take a lead tonight.

    Regarding Ynoa, he should piggyback along with Muller next year; 4 innings each. No way the braves have the guts to do somwthing like that.

  31. Smoltz and Glavine are certainly both opinionated and neither is shy about giving their opinions, no matter how poorly supported they are. But that just shows why Maddux is so great. He’s probably more opinionated than either of them, but has the good sense to keep it to himself.

  32. @61

    Spot on. There is not a single reliever on this team we can count on. Everyone talks about how we should make either Matzek or Jackson the closer, but both are a house of cards. I don’t guess anyone who’s asked for Jackson to be the closer was here in 2019, because he sucked in the role.

  33. Smoltz just seems like he hates baseball. “Back in my day we did it this way and the way we do it now sucks.”

  34. We should drop Duvall a couple of spots in the order. In a tight game where your top four have battled to get a base runner or two on an all or nothing approach hitting next makes little sense where a single may score a big run. Its hurt us tonight at least twice..

  35. Leaving Ynoa in to face Machado might’ve been the worst decision I’ve ever seen Snitker make. That just can’t happen.

  36. @67 Exactly! Jackson or Minter might have failed too. But those were defensible options. Leaving in Ynoa was outrageous.

  37. @59 I think that Muller will be too, I’m just suggesting it while he breaks in to MLB. It seems he still has a lot of 5IP, 1 R, 100 pitch outings. Why not combine that line with 4IP from Ynoa.

    Obviously, this is all hypothetical depending how they are looking next spring training.

    Edit: Caratini giveth after almost killing us.
    I did not expect Rosario to be this good for us.

  38. @66 Overall, I agree. But due to the injury to Ronald and Ozuna being an idiot this is a flawed lineup any way you look at it. Too many low OBP guys like Duvall.

  39. Snit better damn well leave Matzek in for the 9th. RichRod and Smith in the bullpen leave no doubt what will happen.

  40. I sure am glad we called up Dylan Lee. His opportunities have been limitless.

    On another note, is it just me or is Melancon remarkably unlikable? He may be a great guy but even with Atlanta he was hard for me to like for some reason.

  41. Has Dylan Lee even made his Major League debut yet? Letting him pitch in this situation is as bad of a decision as leaving Ynoa in to pitch to Machado was. He was not called up to save the bullpen, he was called up to be an arm.

  42. Dylan Lee was already sent down before todays game. For Arcia…

    The only couple of weeks that the braves played well all year was when Dansby was hitting. He went back to crapping the bed for the most part and the team reverted back to mediocrity.

  43. Please get another run in, Fredo.
    I cant bear to see hancock with a one run lead.

    Edit: ok Oz, SF is good…..
    Can’t wait for the 2 run HR off Smith :(

  44. Austin chokes more often than not in those situations, it seems like he is trying to do too much. Goes swinging out of the zone to try to make things happen.

    I noticed this more after Chip started the whole MVP thing….

  45. My point with Lee was many of us were very happy that he seemingly had his chance after a great year in the minors. Unfortunately he was called up for insurance and not to get a chance. Given his season in AAA I would have trusted him more in his debut than Will Smith last night.

  46. Oh boy, just one more out….somehow?!

    Oh, and I’m with you on comment #2, Ryan C.

    Edit:well, that game just happened..yay

    Hey pirates, win agame tomorrow, you jerks!

  47. Whew! I’d never been less confident in a 2 run extra inning lead than with Will Smith pitching, starting with a runner already on base.

  48. Huge effing win…in European soccer, they would call a win like that a smash-and-grab raid. No business winning that thing.

  49. Finally, a normal save. I told you guys the Padres would fold once they got truly behind instead of tied.

    Note that the Braves bullpen pitched 5 1/3 and gave up one run while the Braves scored 8 runs of the Padres bullpen.

    Not that it means anything but the Mets were eliminated today. They are 1-9 in their last 10 and we get to see them in the last three.

  50. Give Soler all of Ozuna’s suspended salary for 2022, please.
    Get Rosario back as well.

    An OF of Acuña, Pache, Soler, Duvall and Rosario. If there is DH in the NL, I lile how that looks.

  51. Start Newcomb today someone is saying on TC, if he’s not throwing strikes take him out after 1, it’s a bullpen game anyway.

    Not a bad idea. OTOH if he goes 5 we might just have transformed our back up starting pitching, you never know, he’s been decent lately.

  52. Guys… guys… guys…

    They’re announcers. They’re not Rhodes scholars. They’re not the wisest amongst us. They fill time. They’re entertainers. They get an idea in their head and run with it. They spend, on average, probably 60-70 hours a week during the baseball season traveling, prepping, and talking about baseball. What I can guarantee you they don’t do is come home after that 60-70 work week and load up Fangraphs or read the brilliant baseball thinker of our time to fully tease out and test their opinions and prognostications. They most likely spend time with their families and friends, attempt to maintain some modicum of health in an otherwise unhealthy occupation, watch sports and enjoy hobbies other than baseball, and otherwise avoid baseball all together.

    You’re robbing yourself of the enjoyment of watching the greatest game on the planet if you spend so much of your focus wondering about what Chip Caray or John Smoltz thinks about such-and-such. I assure you they don’t even care about what they think.

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