Marlins aim to continue success against slumping Braves

MLB Baseball

Atlanta Braves left-hander Max Fried, who has posted a 2.41 ERA in six starts since returning from the injured list, will get the start against the host Miami Marlins on Saturday.

The Marlins, who have won three of their past four games, have yet to announce their starting pitcher for Saturday’s matchup.

Fried (3-3, 4.63 ERA) beat the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2, in his most recent outing on Sunday.

“We put it all together,” Fried said after that game, which capped a series win over the Dodgers.

Since then, however, the Braves have gone 1-3, including three straight losses. They are 5-8 in their past 13 games. Those losses include Miami’s 4-3 win over Atlanta on Friday night as the Braves stranded 10 runners.

Fried does not have good overall career numbers against the Marlins, going 0-2 with a 6.53 ERA in seven starts. In Miami, though, Fried has been much better, sporting a 2.70 ERA in three starts (no decisions).

Part of Atlanta’s problem this year has been due a slump by star first baseman Freddie Freeman, the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 2020.

Freeman hit .341 last year. This year, he is hitting .228, including his 1-for-5 performance on Friday, during which he stranded four runners.

Despite starting May hitless in 22 at-bats, Freeman has hit the ball hard this year, according to the metrics.

Not that Freeman cares.

“I’d rather hit the ball 42 miles per hour and get a hit,” Freeman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Meanwhile, the Marlins, who have won four of five games against the Braves this season, improved on Friday to 15-13 at home this season.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. stroked a two-out, two-run, opposite-field single to give Miami a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning, and the Marlins’ pitching held up from there.

The Marlins have outscored their opponents 249-243 overall this year, but their record of 28-35 doesn’t reflect that fact, and that’s because of all those close losses. They’ve lost 13 games by one run.

“These type of games are usually decided by something small,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

One of those not-so-small things is the work of Miami’s bullpen, which on Friday allowed just one run in three innings. Marlins closer Yimi Garcia nailed down his 11th save in 14 opportunities, striking out Austin Riley with two runners on base to end the game.

“It’s very exciting,” Garcia said of the close win. “A win like this keeps your adrenaline high.”

Miami on Saturday could start backup catcher Sandy Leon.

Starting catcher Jorge Alfaro left Friday’s game after getting hit by a pitch on his left arm. There was no immediate update on his status going forward.

–Field Level Media

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