Fried strong in last tuneup; Pache impresses

March 28th, 2021

Five days before taking the mound for an Opening Day assignment against the Phillies, Braves left-hander Max Fried made a tuneup start against the Orioles on Saturday night, pitching three scoreless innings in an 8-5 victory at CoolToday Park.

Fried, who allowed two hits and struck out five, said he felt good physically, but that he wasn’t as sharp with his command, which led to a pair of walks. Now, Fried said he is ready to open the regular season in Philadelphia, noting it was an honor when manager Brian Snitker told him he was going to pitch the first game.

“I take a lot of pride in being able to go out there and try to win every start that I have,” Fried said. “I know I’m going to go out there and try to keep doing what I’m doing.”

The Phillies will have fans in the stands at Citizens Bank Park, and Fried hopes his parents and brother will be among them.

Pache keeps impressing
On Saturday afternoon, Snitker said that outfielder Ender Inciarte will start the season on the bench. That indicates that Cristian Pache will likely be the Braves' starting center fielder.

Pache, Atlanta's No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, is an amazing defender, and he gave an example of how good he was Saturday. In the second inning, he made a perfect throw to catcher Travis d’Arnaud to nab Tyler Nevin at the plate to end the frame.

Pache is so good with the glove that he is often compared to former Braves center fielder Andruw Jones, who won 10 Gold Glove Awards in his career.

“[Pache] is aggressive, confident. He is one of those guys that is dangerous because I don’t think he thinks there is a play he can’t make,” Snitker said.

Pache has had some offensive struggles this spring, going 6-for-35 (.171). Snitker wants to see Pache battle through at-bats.

“He’s got some really good takes. He is not chasing. With the confidence and the at-bat ability, if he continues to not chase, he will be fine,” Snitker said. “He needs to compete with the bat. It’s going to be quite a learning curve. This is a really tough [National League East] division to hit in. We all have confidence that he can do it. He needs experience.”