Fried shines, Olson crushes HR in rain-shortened win

April 29th, 2023

ATLANTA -- and made sure ’s effort was rewarded. But it would have been nice to see Mother Nature allow Fried to extend the dominance he displayed in the Braves’ 4-0, rain-shortened win over the Mets on Friday night at Citi Field.

“That’s what Max does,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Through the adverse conditions and everything else, he was really good.”

Acuña tallied a two-out RBI single in the fifth and trotted home when Olson followed with a 433-ft. home run off David Peterson. Fried kept the Mets scoreless through the bottom half of the inning, and that would be it.

The game was called after a 1 hour, 28 minute rain delay -- five minutes longer than it took to play the five-inning game. Friday was the first time the Braves and Mets met since both teams tallied 101 wins in last year’s National League East race. Atlanta was awarded a fifth consecutive division title because it won 10 of the 19 games played against New York.

“I didn't really think that they were gonna be calling it,” Fried said. “I just knew that we put up four (runs) and it was really important for me to go out there and just try to put up a zero.”

By winning the opener of this four-game series, the Braves moved past the frustration felt on Thursday, when they sat through a three-hour, one-minute rain delay and then blew a four-run ninth-inning lead to the Marlins. The bullpen worked six innings on Thursday and then rested as Fried went the distance in this shortened game.

Fried helped right the ship as he struck out seven and scattered three hits over five innings. The Braves left-hander hasn’t allowed a run during the 18 innings he has totaled in three starts since returning from the left hamstring strain he suffered in the fourth inning of his Opening Day start.

“I don't think anybody's really shocked given the caliber of pitcher that he is,” Olson said. “I mean I've said it before, it’s not like he goes out there and relies on one thing every night. It's fun to watch and easy to play behind.” 

Even with rain falling throughout the game, Fried recorded a strike with 50 of 86 pitches and displayed effective offspeed stuff. The Mets whiffed with 17 of 40 swings, including four of five swings against the changeup and two of three swings against the curveball.

Like Olson said, Fried isn’t shocking anybody with his success. He finished second in balloting for the NL Cy Young Award last year and he has a MLB-best 2.57 ERA (min. 300 innings) since the start of the 2020 season.

Fried’s early-season dominance certainly doesn’t surprise the Mets, who have seen him post a 2.47 ERA in the 11 starts he has made against them since the start of the 2020 season. He pushed the Braves toward the NL East title last year when he tossed five strong innings while battling a virus against New York on Sept. 30. Atlanta won that series opener and essentially clinched the division by sweeping that three-game set.

“You know you have to bring it because they’re going to bring it every night,” Fried said. “They won 100 games last year and they are a really good team. So, you have to bring your 'A' game.”

Given the results, Fried seems to bring this approach to most starts.

“I don’t think the opponent matters much for him, I think he’s on his 'A' game every time mentally,” Olson said. “Obviously, there will be times when you don’t have your best stuff, but it’s about preparation and for all of our starters, preparation is top notch.”