After picking up a game in the standings with a walkoff win on Saturday night, the Atlanta Braves will try to sweep away the Miami Marlins as they send Max Fried to the hill to square off against Pablo Lopez.
Although Fried has been one of the game’s pitchers through the first five months of the 2022 season (ranking fifth in fWAR currently), he had an off night in his last outing. Against the Rockies on August 30, Fried lasted just five frames with a 3/1 K/BB ratio. It was his lowest strikeout total since April 21, 2021, against the Marlins, and only the second time this season he failed to record a 16th out. Still, even with a host of command issues, Fried gave the Braves a chance to win, though they ended up dropping a 3-2 decision anyway.
One bit of intrigue for this game is the opportunity it affords Fried to move into the fWAR lead, and therefore presumably the Cy Young Award lead for the NL. Fried currently trails Carlos Rodon and Aaron Nola by 0.3 fWAR (4.6 versus 4.9), but has one fewer start. A great outing can push him ahead of both, and the ineffectual Miami attack seems like a good candidate against which to rack up value, provided his command issues were just a temporary blip and not something that will linger into this outing. His only prior outing against Miami this year, where he had a 5/3 K/BB ratio and allowed a homer in six innings in a 6-3 May win, won’t do it — but something with a 2.5/1 K/BB ratio across seven innings with zero homers allowed just might push him into the fWAR lead.
The Braves’ bats have exhibited a bit of whiplash lately. After scoring 25 combined runs across two games last week, they scored three or fewer while splitting the next four games, but then clobbered Sandy Alcantara before eking out a 2-1 win last night. Miami’s starter for today, Pablo Lopez, doesn’t really suggest anything in this regard. On the season, Lopez has a 92/96/90 line. He’s been somewhat worse lately as he was much more effective in April and May, but isn’t a pushover by any stretch. A few weeks ago, Lopez went 5 2⁄3 against Atlanta with a 4/0 K/BB ratio and a homer allowed as the Braves edged Miami by a 4-3 score.
Miami Marlins @ Atlanta Braves
Sunday, September 4, 2022
1:35 pm EDT
Truist Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Bally Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan
XM Radio: Ch. 176