Fried gets 10th win but exits due to blister

July 16th, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- Max Fried made the most of his extra rest and got his 10th win, but his best outing in almost two months was cut short by a blister.

On eight days' rest, Fried tossed five scoreless innings in his first start in the second half while Freddie Freeman hit his 25th home run, a three-run shot in the fourth, to help the Braves to a 4-2 victory in the series opener on Monday night at Miller Park.

The National League East-leading Braves have won five straight games and eight of their last nine.

Fried, who started the game 20 innings shy of his career high as a professional, might have benefited from the All-Star break. He allowed three hits and two walks to end a shaky stretch of starts.

But the left-hander, who has been bothered by blisters dating back to his time in the Minors, said he noticed it near the end of the fourth inning and it got worse in the fifth.

“It was never painful, just a little uncomfortable,” said Fried, who spent time on the injured list last season with a blister. “I showed the training staff after I came in in the fifth and just thought it was the best thing [to leave].”

Fried said by coming out when he did, he hopes to make his next start.

“I’m hopeful,” he said. “It’s definitely a lot better than previous ones that I’ve had, last year especially. Last year here, it was a lot worse. It was really, really painful. This one is a lot better, so just try to get some treatment done and try to see how it feels tomorrow.”

Fried's five-inning start was a good bounce-back outing after ending the first half of the season struggling. Since winning his third consecutive start on May 22, the left-hander’s ERA had climbed from 2.88 to 4.29 over eight starts. During that span, opposing hitters hit .339 against Fried. He allowed 60 hits over 42 1/3 innings.

One reason for Fried's struggles was his lack of success against right-handed hitters. In his first 11 appearances of the season, right-handers were hitting .234 against Fried, but they hit .350 against him in his next nine outings. In his last start before the All-Star break, Fried was tagged for five runs on a career-high 11 hits -- all to right-handed hitters -- in five innings in a defeat.

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“I finally kind of felt like myself,” Fried said. “Just back to not trying to do too much, executing pitches, let the defense work behind me, working really well. Definitely was feeling like I was starting to hit my groove, so it was a little frustrating [to exit].”

Fried kept his scoreless start intact in his final frame on Monday. Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura led off the inning with a ground-rule double and then stole third base. Orlando Arcia then hit a slow ground ball back to Fried, who ran at Hiura as he broke toward the plate and applied the tag for the first out of the inning, which he escaped.

“I saw him break toward the plate, so I was just trying to pick the ball up and flip it to home,” Fried said. “I saw him kind of break down a little bit and just tried to make the tag and turn and see where the runner was. It was just kind of instinctual.”

Freeman's three-run home run, his 25th of the season, came in the fourth inning off Brewers starter Adrian Houser. That was enough for the Braves, who saw Luke Jackson notch his 17th save.

“I felt a little better in [batting practice], still not there,” Freeman said. “Still a little late on some heaters, early on some changeups. But I’ll take that as not feeling good with today’s result.”