Four key moments that turned DH against Braves

August 7th, 2022

NEW YORK -- Max Fried lost his matchup against Max Scherzer and ’s Atlanta debut didn’t go as smoothly as he had hoped. Consequently, the Braves fell 5 1/2 games back in the National League East after being swept by the Mets during Saturday’s doubleheader at Citi Field.

After suffering an 8-5 loss in the matinee, the Braves took a 6-2 loss in the nightcap. Atlanta has won only one of the first four games of this series, which concludes with Spencer Strider matching up against Jacob deGrom on Sunday afternoon.

Here is a closer look at four key moments from the twin bill:

Scary moment
Tomás Nido doubled to begin the bottom of the third inning and then scored the nightcap’s first run on a Pete Alonso single. Darin Ruf followed with a sharp grounder to first baseman Matt Olson, who made a quick throw to shortstop Dansby Swanson. He caught the feed, stepped on second base and made a throw that caromed off Fried’s chest toward the Mets’ dugout. Fried grabbed the ball, made an awkward throw toward home plate and hit both his left shoulder and head on the ground as he landed.

Fortunately, Fried just needed to briefly compose himself before returning to finish a six-inning effort, in which he allowed four runs (only two of which were earned). But with the errant throw made while attempting to make a difficult turn, the Mets tallied a second run on the play and provided a 3-0 third-inning lead to Scherzer, who notched 11 strikeouts over seven scoreless frames.

“We work day in and day out to make those plays,” Fried said. “Sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t.”

Squandered opportunity
Opportunities have been limited as Scherzer has held the Braves to one run over 14 innings in two starts this year. This added to the frustration felt when  began the fifth with his second double of the second game and then was thrown out attempting to score on Ehire Adrianza’s one-out grounder to second baseman Luis Guillorme, who was playing back, seemingly ready to concede a run. d’Arnaud’s brief pause to make sure the ball got down was likely the difference in the play at the plate.

“That wasn’t a routine ball; that ball was smoked,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He saw a line drive off the bat. [Guillorme] had to make a good throw, too, and he did.”

Setting the tone
Instead of tasting instant success with his new team, Trade Deadline acquisition Odorizzi allowed a pair of runs in the first inning of Game 1. Francisco Lindor’s weak dribbler preceded Alonso driving in the day’s first run with a 78 mph single to right field. Odorizzi was the victim of some soft contact, but he battled erratic command throughout his 4 2/3 innings and made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt that led to another run in the third.

Odorizzi was acquired from the Astros on Tuesday to provide the Braves’ rotation with insurance over the season’s final two months.

“I think a lot of it was I just wasn’t in the zone enough,” Odorizzi said. “I was being too fine early on, getting behind and then making uncompetitive pitches up in the zone. I’m just not happy with the execution of a lot of pitches I made today. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself to go out and execute in my debut.”

Two-out insurance runs
 issued consecutive two-out walks before allowing Lindor to drill a two-run double off the top of the center-field wall in the sixth inning of the matinee. Had Matzek got out of the inning unscathed, the Braves likely wouldn’t have turned to Bryce Elder, who was called up to serve as the 27th man during the doubleheader.

Elder allowed the Braves to keep their primary relievers available for the nightcap, but the three runs he surrendered in the seventh proved to be significant when Atlanta pulled within three runs in the ninth.

“We’re still a confident bunch in here,” Fried said. “We know we’re good. That’s a really good team over there. So you’ve got to give them credit.”