Is the sky falling? On a sun-soaked Thursday in the nation’s capital, the Atlanta Braves sent its unquestioned ace, Max Fried to the mound to open the season for the third straight season, and 43 pitches into the game, some might think the sky is indeed falling.
Fried, who finished second in the National League Cy Young voting in 2022, was dominant through Spring Training, and was equally dominant through 3 1/3 innings in a 7-2 Braves victory over the Nationals.
The high-sky forced the Braves to botch two pop-ups in Fried’s first 13 pitches, one of which came home to roost in the bottom of the second, but it was a routine ground ball to first that has Braves Country wondering if the sky is indeed falling.
Dom Smith rolled one over to first baseman, Matt Olson, who kicked the ball initially and then under-hand flipped the ball to Fried who pounced off the mound to record the out. Fried appeared to get off the mound with no trouble, but saw Olson boot the ball and accelerated for the bag to take the throw. It wasn’t until he had caught the ball and was returning to the mound that he reached behind him to feel his left hamstring. One warm-up toss later and his day was finished.
What is it with the Braves and pitches covering first base? On Aug. 3, 2020, Mike Soroka hopped off the mound to field a ball when he tore his achilles tendon. While Fried’s injury is likely nothing compared to Soroka’s achilles tear, the injury feels significant today. He had the second lowest road ERA (2.55) in 2022, the second lowest ERA (2.48) and WHIP (1.01), while also having the second lowest exit velo allowed in the NL at 86.2. Fried and teammate, Spencer Strider, are early season favorites to contend for the NL Cy Young award.
After the game, Braves manager Brian Snitker said Fried will miss his next start and is ;likely headed for the IL. Fried is also reported to have said the injury feels similar to when he strained his right hamstring while running the bases in his third start in 2021. That injury that resulted in being on the shelf for three weeks. Time will tell who makes Fried’s next couple of starts in the Atlanta rotation, but thankfully this is game one of 162 and the sky is not falling.
The loss of an ace would be debilitating for most organizations, but thanks to the work of rookies Jared Shuster (who is set to start Sunday) and Dylan Dodd (who will make his first start in St. Louis on Tuesday), the Braves have pitching depth in Gwinnett in Bryce Elder, Ian Anderson, and Michael Soroka.
I’m anxious for Soroka to be ready to roll, but think it will be Elder – he simply knows how to grind!
Who do you think make Fried’s next start and why?
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Sky is not falling. The Braves have decent depth though no one, even close, can obviously replace Fried. I also think Elder will get the start. Ian still did not look right and Soroka is not quite ready yet next week but depending on how long Fried is out and Soroka not struggling too badly, we should see him in a couple of weeks time, I think.
Also, the offense will make up for some of it. Amazing how deep this lineup is. We’re fine.
Agreed on all fronts. The sky isn’t falling, the Braves have options, and that offense – chef’s kiss – will cover up a lot of bad pitching. I feel for Max, though…dude looks the part and will hopefully return soon.
An off day immediately. I hate it.
I have to concede that we’re probably not DOOOOOOOOOOMED.
Boy, if Huascar Ynoa ever wanted an opportunity to grab the damn brass ring, he might be able to get a spot start. I would love for him to be all that he can be.
YESSSSS! I wish I had a place on the staff when he was dealing a couple of years ago because I think I could have helped him manage his anger, then he wouldn’t have broken that hand, and he would be crushing it. Instead, we wait for him to regroup, or find it, or whatever! Elder will grind, but when Huascar is right, he can be dominant!
I thought The Grouch (did this ever catch on?) was still hurt?
Didn’t realize Olsen bobbled the ball
Ynoa is on the 60-day IL. (So is Allard.) It’ll be Elder or Anderson, neither of which fills me with a lot of confidence, but it’s only until either Fried or Wright gets back. Only.
Ohhh, right. Forgot about that.
We got the Chuck back!
HE’S BACK! Check out our piece on the blog…he just may be the bullpen we need in Max’s absence.
Time for an elaborate heist in which Culberson switches identities with Dansby Swanson and suspiciously becomes a slick-fielding everyday shortstop.
When they call him up, will he ask for #7?
If your ace starter is going to get injured, a hamstring is probably the best possible injury.
Indeed…let’s hope it is minor and it’s just a start or two.
(This is a reply to sdp) There are worse injuries for a pitcher, but as someone who has had hamstring trouble for several years, I would think that something on his glove hand or arm would be less concerning, especially since Fried had the same trouble two years ago. Fried being half my age should make me a less-than-ideal comp, though.
Stripers just beat Jumbo Shrimp on Shewmake w/o HR. Nice start to AAA as well as MLB season.
Let’s hope they rake at AAA and are ready when we need ‘em in the A…