On the attack, Fried puts rough start in rearview

April 13th, 2024

MIAMI -- After one of the worst starts of his career over the weekend, had a couple of days to stew.

He certainly looked ready to make amends on Friday in Miami.

Fried rebounded after giving up eight runs (seven earned) to Arizona last Saturday, delivering a start Atlanta needed as he led the way to an 8-1 win over Miami in the series opener at loanDepot park.

“The big thing was just going back to who I am, and that’s changing speeds and not worrying about the results and just attacking,’’ said Fried (1-0), who allowed one run on four hits over 6 1/3 innings, striking out four.

Fried was charged with the run after he exited in the seventh, which came on a single from Emmanuel Rivera off reliever Pierce Johnson.

“The last couple of outings, I have not necessarily felt like myself," Fried said. "It was nice to go out there and give us the chance to win. It was a close game for a long time. Obviously, the guys came through in that [seventh] inning. This is a really good one to build off of.’’

Manager Brian Snitker and catcher Travis d’Arnaud had no concerns Fried would bounce back after that rough outing against the Diamondbacks.

“That’s good, Max needed that,” Snitker said. “He had a rough couple of first starts, rebounded, and looked like his old self again. That was really good. He had really good stuff … it happens. If that happened in July after 10 starts or something, it would become a topic. But Max is fine. His fastball was much better, and he was on the attack. He was the aggressor like he normally is with that stuff that he’s got.’’

Fried controlled Miami's bats for much of the night, allowing just two hits through his first six innings. In that span, the Marlins had just one runner reach scoring position: Jake Burger, with two outs in the first.

“I saw great fastball command and off-speed command,” said d’Arnaud, who hit one of Atlanta’s five doubles. “The right conversations were being had between innings and even before the game. He was his normal self tonight. … It was more about getting outs instead of mechanical stuff. His first two starts didn’t go the way he wanted, and having five or six games between them, I am sure it was eating at him.’’

Said Miami manager Skip Schumaker: “Fried's curveball was working really good. He stole some early strikes and then was on the attack with the fastball up, or with the changeup down and away. [Our] timing was off; so we were back and forth on the fastball, offspeed. You couldn't really sit on one pitch, because he was having all his pitches working. A lot of ground balls today.”

Fried was one of many Braves seeking -- and achieving -- a rebound performance on Friday.

Barely 24 hours prior, Atlanta lost its series finale at home to New York, 16-4, to drop the set. The Braves' luck turned around bigtime in Miami, though. Atlanta took a 1-0 lead in the first when Ozzie Albies came home on a double into the left-field corner from Austin Riley.

In the fifth, Orlando Arcia led off with a double to right and scored on Albies’ two-out single. That was enough run support for Fried, but the Braves didn't stop there.

Atlanta opened things up in the seventh, scoring five runs to help keep Miami winless through its first eight home games of the season. Then, Ozuna (3-for-4, three RBIs) capped his night with a Statcast-projected 446-foot solo home run to center field to lead off the ninth inning.

Atlanta, swept by Miami in the clubs' final meeting of 2023 last September, has won 10 of its past 14 vs. the Marlins.

A Braves win on Saturday would put the Marlins at 0-9 at home to start this season, tying the franchise record set back in 1995 when they played at what is now known as Hard Rock Stadium, about 15 miles northwest of their current home in Little Havana.

“It is a new year and you have to respect everyone you play against,” d’Arnaud said regarding facing a Miami team off to the worst start (2-12) in its 31-year history. “If not, they’ll sneak up on you and you’ll get caught on your heels. We show them the respect they deserve. They’re still a big-league team and we go at it like any team.”