Call it the Max Fried Game.
Fried threw seven innings of four-hit shutout baseball and went 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs at the plate in a 9-0 victory for the Braves over the Tampa Bay Rays.
With the laundry list of injuries on this club leading to a lack of depth, superstar individual performances from the high-end talent might be all the 2021 Braves really have left. The Braves got one last night when Freddie Freeman went 4-for-5, but couldn’t make it hold up.
Tonight it held up and then some.
- Max Fried put the team on his back tonight after a brutal loss last night. That’s what you need from your leaders, especially in the starting rotation. He was the prototypical “stopper” tonight.
- And a hitter! For the second time in July, a team intentionally walked Kevan Smith to pitch to Max Fried and got burned with an RBI hit. Although I suppose it wasn’t the worst game-management decision Kevin Cash has made in the last year.
- Heck, Fried even set the tone in the first inning when he picked off Wander Franco. I guess you could say he…wandered too far off the bag. You’re right, I’ll stop.
- Welcome to Atlanta, Joc Pederson! Clearly the Braves have found an outfielder who can crush left-handed pitching. I mean, he must do this against lefties every night, right? Right?
- Speaking of home runs, Freddie Freeman hit another one. His OPS is over .900 and he has 21 home runs on the year. Extend that man.
- Kevan Smith with a hit and two runs scored? Oh yeah, *everything* was working tonight.
- In the middle of a stretch of 18 games in 17 days, every single time you can save the bullpen work is crucial. All of the high leverage arms got the night off tonight thanks to Fried.
- In fact, the three Atlanta pitchers didn’t even allow an extra base hit in the game. This was as comprehensive a win as the team has had all year, arguably including the two 20-run explosions against the Pirates and Mets.
- The Braves are 1-0 in the Stephen Vogt era. Was he the spark this team has been missing all along?
- I’ll give you the same number of negatives as the number of runs the Braves allowed tonight: zero.
Former Brave Of The Day:
Are we talking enough about how good Craig Kimbrel has been this season? He locked down another save today for the Cubs, lowering his ERA on the season to 0.53.
Quote Of The Game:
— Edward Rooney
You know what the Braves haven’t done yet this season? No, don’t say go over .500, that’s unoriginal. They haven’t won an interleague series yet. Three losses and two splits so far. Get off that schneid tomorrow, and then maybe take care of the other one on Monday.