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Apr 29, 2024 7:54 am

Red-hot Braves turn to Max Fried in opener vs. Mariners

Max Fried

With Spencer Strider sidelined for the season following elbow surgery, Max Fried has stepped back into the role of the ace of the Atlanta Braves.

Fried is scheduled to start Monday night as the Braves open a three-game interleague series against the host Seattle Mariners.

The left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three starts since Strider’s surgery, including a three-hit shutout over the Miami Marlins in a 5-0 win last Tuesday. It was Atlanta’s first nine-inning complete game since September 2022.

“I was just trying to get back to being who I am,” Fried said. “Get ground balls, be on the attack.”

Fried (2-0, 4.97 ERA) struggled in his first two starts of the season, lasting just two-thirds of an inning and giving up three runs to the Philadelphia Phillies on March 30 before allowing eight runs (seven earned) in 4 1/3 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He was so dominant last week nobody in the Braves’ bullpen even had to warm up.

“I had to pay them back,” Fried said, referring to the toll his first two starts had on the relief corps.

The Braves beat the visiting Cleveland Guardians 4-3 Sunday in a showdown of the teams with the best records in the major leagues as Austin Riley scored Ronald Acuna Jr. with a single in the 10th inning. It was the 11th win in the past 13 games for Atlanta.

“It was everything you could ask for in a series,” said Braves reliever A.J. Minter, who got the victory. “It felt like a postseason series. Luckily we had some timely hitting when we needed it the most in extras. That’s how we got it done.”

Despite a 3-2 loss to visiting Arizona on Sunday, the Mariners have won nine of their past 12 games to surge into first place in the American League West.

The Mariners took a 2-1 lead in the third inning and loaded the bases with no outs but were unable to push another run across. Their final 20 batters of the game were retired in order.

“Unfortunately, today I thought we had them right where we wanted them. We had their starter on the ropes a little bit in the third inning and he was able to wiggle out of it,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s frustrating because I thought we were right there. In that game, in those moments early in the game you’ve got to create some separation and we just weren’t able to do that.”

It was the franchise-record 16th consecutive game a Mariners starter allowed two runs or fewer. Their starters have allowed 17 earned runs in that span.

The Mariners will try to extend that streak when they send right-hander Bryce Miller (3-2, 2.22) to the mound Monday. Miller lost 5-1 at Texas his last time out, allowing two runs on four hits and walking four over four innings against the Rangers.

Miller is 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA in one previous appearance against Atlanta; Fried is 0-1, 3.00 in one start against Seattle.

–Field Level Media

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