Braves, Max Fried seek turnaround vs. Marlins

By Thomson Reuters Apr 12, 2024 | 9:15 AM

The Atlanta Braves — among the favorites to win the 2024 World Series — have been humbled.

On Thursday, the Braves were routed 16-4 by the visiting New York Mets. Atlanta lost two of three games in that series, and the team finished the finale with a backup middle infielder on the mound.

The Braves will visit the Miami Marlins to start a three-game set on Friday night, but Atlanta manager Brian Snitker has his hands nowhere near the panic button.

“You have to look ahead,” Snitker said. “You have to look at the whole thing. … It’s just part of getting through 162 games.”

But it’s not just the Braves players who were on the field Thursday who need to rebound. It’s also Friday’s scheduled starting pitcher, left-hander Max Fried, who is off to an ugly start.

Fried (0-0, 18.00 ERA) has been off since last Saturday, when he had a no-decision in allowing 10 hits, one walk and eight runs (seven earned) in 4 1/3 innings in his team’s 9-8 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“Just to be frank, I’ve got to do better,” Fried said. “This is not acceptable.”

Fried has made 12 career starts against the Marlins, going 3-3 with a 4.94 ERA.

The good news for the Braves is that they lead the major leagues in doubles (33), batting average (.303), on-base percentage (.364) and slugging percentage (.500). They also rank tied for fourth with 73 runs.

The hottest Braves hitters in terms of OPS are left fielder Jarred Kelenic (1.094), DH Marcell Ozuna (1.063), and first baseman Matt Olson (1.005).

Meanwhile, the Marlins also will start a left-hander on Friday, going with Trevor Rogers (0-1, 5.40 ERA).

“My stuff feels good,” Rogers said. “(Opposing batters) are just finding holes. They are finding grass.”

Rogers, who made his MLB debut in 2020, has a career record of 13-24 with a 4.17 ERA.

The No. 13 overall pick by Miami in the 2017 MLB Draft, Rogers, 26, has never had a winning record. He had his best season in 2021, going 7-8 with a 2.64 ERA in 25 starts.

But, since then, Rogers is 5-14, and his season ERA has never been below 4.00.

Against the Braves, it hasn’t been any better for Rogers, who is 0-5 with a 6.03 ERA in seven career starts.

As a team, the Marlins lost their first nine games this season – the worst start in the 33-year history of the franchise.

Since then, however, the Marlins are 2-2, including a 10-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals last Sunday and a 5-2 victory on Wednesday over the New York Yankees, who have the best record in the major leagues.

“I’m just happy for the guys,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said after beating the Cardinals. “They can smile and breathe a little bit.”

Offensively, the Marlins are led by corner infielder Jake Burger and utility man Nick Gordon. Burger has a .771 OPS and tops the squad with 15 RBIs. Gordon leads Miami with a .791 OPS.

“We’ve put ourselves in a bit of a hole,” Schumaker said of Miami’s poor start. “We need every victory.”

–Field Level Media