Max Fried will be on the mound for the Atlanta Braves Tuesday when they begin their quest for a second-straight World Series title against the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS. Fried is far removed from the young pitcher that was just cutting his teeth through the rebuild and has emerged as the team’s big game pitcher.
“I’m excited. This is the time of year that you play for and you grind for 162 games,” Fried said of the postseason getting underway. “It’s finally here, and I know that we’re excited to get started.”
Hearing Brian Snitker say that it would be Fried starting Tuesday isn’t surprising, especially given his body of work over the last few seasons.
“I’ve been very fortunate to be on a lot of really good teams and have some experience in the postseason before,” Fried added. “The one thing I’ve noticed is that at this time of year it doesn’t really matter what happened in the regular season or what’s happened in the past. It’s all about just going out there and winning baseball games. Stats are really irrelevant; it’s if your team comes out on top and you win the game, that’s the main objective.”
The Phillies are no stranger to the Braves after playing them 19 times during the regular season. Philadelphia captured the final wild card spot during the final week of the season and upset the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card Series.
“I threw twice against them towards the end of the year. I’ve thrown a handful of times against them, but they’re one of the teams that I’ve pitched most frequently against in my whole career,” Fried said. “It’s a really really great lineup over there. They’re extremely deep. 1 through 9 can beat you and they’re here for a reason.”
“I don’t know if it’s an advantage or disadvantage,” Fried added. “I just think there’s no secrets. I know what they have, they know what I have and it’s just going out there and executing and seeing who comes out on top. I’m really excited. I know that they played a really good series in St. Louis and they’re going to be coming in, hungry, ready to go. It’s going to be a fun one.”
“You know that every single team you’re playing this time of year is an amazing team and they’re really well-rounded, and you’ve got to bring your A game. So for me it’s just going out there and leaving it all on the field and just trying to get the results.”
Fried allowed one run in his last regular season start against the Mets, but exited after the fifth inning and 71 pitches due to a stomach bug. However, he said that he was ready to go for the season finale in Miami if needed.
“It got me kind of good right afterwards, but I started to bounce back,” Fried said. “If we were in a situation where I needed to pitch on that last game of the season, I was going to be able to do that.”
It is unclear how the Braves will line up behind Fried. Brian Snitker said Monday that they were leaning towards going with Kyle Wright in Game 2 although Charlie Morton was also a possibility. It sounds like Spencer Strider has recovered enough to be on the NLDS roster, but his role is still unclear. No matter how they decide to go, they are in good hands with Fried in for Game 1.
“I’ve got one opportunity to make an impact on today’s game and I don’t want to have any regrets coming out of it thinking that I could have done more or I should have done more,” Fried said. For me, I’m going to leave everything out there every single time I take the ball because that’s the way that I can impact the game, and I know that my teammates are doing that on a daily basis, especially the guys behind me. Just making the most of every opportunity that I can get and just giving everything you have every single time you have that opportunity.”