Braves’ Max Fried aims to extend strong stretch vs. Marlins

MLB Baseball

Atlanta Braves left-hander Max Fried hasn’t been an All-Star in his five seasons in the majors, but he continues to pitch like one.

Fried, who went 17-6 in 2019 and 7-0 last season, is scheduled to take the mound in the rubber game of a three-game series against the visiting Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon.

Fried (11-7, 3.42 ERA) is 5-2 in 10 starts since the All-Star break, with a 1.97 ERA.

He told reporters after his last outing that he’s challenging hitters more instead of just nibbling at the corners. That strategy is paying off with better results and increased confidence.

It shows in his body language.

“I’m feeling like I’m in a really good rhythm,” Fried said. “Mechanically, I’ve just spread out my base a little bit more, just try to be a little bit more balanced, so I can just make some more pitches. Beyond that, I just feel like I’ve gotten in a really good groove.”

Fried was denied a win in his last outing on Tuesday against the visiting Washington Nationals. He allowed one run and six hits before departing after six innings with Atlanta leading 5-1.

The bullpen couldn’t hold the lead, however. Washington tied the score with four runs in the seventh before the Braves won 8-5.

Fried also pitched well enough to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 1, allowing two runs and three hits in six innings against the defending World Series champions, but the offense didn’t come alive until late, and Fried did not factor in the Braves’ 4-3 loss.

Fried hasn’t had many positive results against the Marlins: He has made three starts against them this season and is 1-2 with a 7.80 ERA, and he is 1-3 in nine career starts with a 6.10 ERA.

Another weapon Fried brings is his hitting ability. He’s batting .318 this season.

Miami plans to counter with rookie right-hander Edward Cabrera on Sunday.

Cabrera (0-1, 7.11 ERA) has made three major-league starts with mixed results.

He most recently went 2 1/3 innings on Tuesday against the visiting New York Mets, allowing four runs on just one hit, but he walked four batters and hit two while recording just one strikeout.

Cabrera was lifted after walking three straight batters and hitting two in a row to put the Mets ahead 4-2 in the 9-4 win for New York.

“Obviously [we were] trying to let him get out of it, give him a chance, because he can throw the ball on the ground,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s got a chance to get out of it right there. I wanted to give him that chance, but when he hits another guy there after three walks, it’s like, ‘OK, not going to let him just keep struggling out there like that.’ “

Cabrera, who is considered the 30th-best prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline, said he feels fine physically but didn’t like his tempo and balance in his last outing.

“Those are things that happen, and you learn from it,” he said. “You just have to keep working.”

–Field Level Media

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