Max Fried only made it through five innings as he definitely didn’t bring his best stuff to the ballpark tonight. When you combine that with Atlanta looking somewhat lifeless at the plate for the most part in this contest, that added up to a poor 3-2 loss for the Braves against the Rockies.
The frustrating tone of this game was set very early on, as the Braves ended up coming away with nothing from a bases loaded situation against José Ureña in the first inning. With that being said, the fact that the bases were loaded to begin with said more about Ureña and the Rockies and less about the Braves when it came to their offense tonight. Michael Harris II got on with an error and then Ureña walked both Austin Riley and Matt Olson to load the bases with just one out. With Ureña looking a bit rattled, the Braves had a huge opportunity to get out ahead early but instead, Travis d’Arnaud struck out swinging on what should’ve been ball four and then Eddie Rosario struck out on three pitches to squander the scoring chance.
The Braves didn’t stay completely quiet at the plate all night. In fact, it seemed like Atlanta was still going to get away with blowing that chance in the first inning as the Braves put up one run in both the second and third inning. The first run of the game came after Dansby Swanson hit a double off the fence in center field to make it 1-0 for the home team. Dansby then followed that up in the top of the third inning by making a nifty relay throw to keep the Rockies off the board at that point in the game.
Following the play at the plate to end Colorado’s half of the third inning, Atlanta doubled their lead with a pair of doubles that had Randal Grichuk looking very awkward in right field. The RBI double in particular was hit off the wall in right and that made it 2-0 in favor of the Braves. While it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable lead in the world, it was easy to imagine a scenario where the Braves did what they normally do with early-game leads and ended up riding Max Fried’s pitching coattails on the way to relatively comfortable victory.
That wasn’t in the cards for tonight’s game. Max Fried wasn’t really looking like himself tonight and the fourth and fifth innings ended up being undeniable proof that this wasn’t his type of night. It didn’t help that Brendan Rodgers led off the inning with a triple following Michael Harris II’s failed attempt at making a diving catch. C.J. Cron then wasted no time in making the Braves pay by looping the first pitch he saw into the outfield to put the Rockies on the board. Following a strikeout, Elehuris Montero hit a bouncing grounder down the left field line for a double that brought home Cron and tied the game at two runs apiece.
The fifth inning was a mess as the Rockies jumped all over Max Fried from the moment the frame began. Garrett Hampson and Randal Grichuk both hit singles to put runners on the corners and then we got the surest sign that Atlanta’s star pitcher was struggling: Max Fried committed an error. The bases were loaded with nobody out and the Braves were drastic peril of falling behind. The good news is that Fried was able to mitigate the damage and escape the inning with the game still being somewhat in the balance. The bad news is that the Rockies still managed to push a run across in order to go ahead 3-2.
Things were quiet until the eighth inning, which is when the Braves finally got another chance to make something happen at the plate. Once again, this was a scoring chance that materialized more due to the Rockies having a tough time than for anything Atlanta was doing at the plate. Carlos Estévez struck out Travis d’Arnaud and William Contreras but walked Eddie Rosario and Vaughn Grissom in between those strikeouts. That left it up to Robbie Grossman to come up with a base hit that could potentially tie the game. Unfortunately, Estévez kept the strikeout-walk-strikeout pattern going with a strikeout to end the frame and keep the Rockies ahead.
So it came down to the bottom of the ninth inning where the Braves had to deal with Daniel Bard and it didn’t go well for Atlanta at all. Bard retired the Braves in 1-2-3 order to end the game and hand the Braves their third straight loss. This is now only the second time this season where the Braves have lost three straight games and these past three have been pretty frustrating to watch since you could argue that they could’ve won all three.
Instead, tonight’s performance saw Max Fried look very rough for his standards and the bats fail to take advantage of some crucial opportunities. It was a tough night for the Braves but they’ve got no choice but to get back at it with Kyle Wright starting tomorrow.