Max Fried was brilliant, the offense continued its torrid home run pace, and the Braves beat the Dodgers for the second night in a row, 6-3, in front of a packed house at Chavez Ravine.
For a mild change of pace, Fried and catcher Travis d’Arnaud went back to traditional signs instead of utilizing the PitchCom device. It also felt like Fried was a bit more deliberate on the mound, using more of the pitch clock allotment in between throws. While the results have been perfectly fine since returning from the IL, it felt like Max was off ever so slightly over the last month as he rebuilt stamina from the injury. We were treated to the full Max Fried Experience on Friday evening.
In total, Fried tossed seven innings of shutout ball. He set a season-high with 10 strikeouts. He only surrendered three hits and two walks, and a Dodger runner didn’t reach scoring position until the seventh. What a performance.
Travis d’Arnaud got the scoring going in the second with a solo shot down the left field line to make it 1-0. The Braves seemed to be in business with two in scoring position and Michael Harris at the plate when Eddie Rosario inexplicably tried to steal home. It required a great catch and tag from catcher Will Smith, but Rosario was thrown out at the plate and Harris popped up the next pitch.
Thankfully, the errant decision on the base paths didn't come around to bite Atlanta.
Ronald Acuña Jr., who became the game’s first 30-60 player on Thursday night, added another blast in the third inning to make it 2-0. Ronald also doubled and stole a base to increase his season total to 63.
In the fourth, Marcell Ozuna continued his scorcher with a homer of his own. The Braves tacked on two more runs in the fifth and another in the eighth courtesy of an Eddie Rosario single to make it 6-0.
Things got weird in the bottom of the eighth as Pierce Johnson, who has been tremendous since the trade deadline, ran into some foul luck. Ozzie Albies bobbled what should have been at least one out to put two runners on base. With the score 6-0 and two on, Dave Roberts inexplicably pulled Mookie Betts from the game. And then he did it with Freddie Freeman, too. In this instance, pinch hitter Kolten Wong hit a ball at his shoe laces just over the right field wall to make it 6-3. Johnson allowed two more runners to reach before ultimately giving way to Michael Tonkin, who mercifully ended the threat with a strikeout of Chris Taylor.
In the ninth, Kirby Yates recorded the final three outs with no drama. Raisel Iglesias, who pitched the past three nights, was not available.
The Braves are 89-45. At very worst, they have split the series in Los Angeles and have won seven of the first eight games on this west coast road trip.
The series continues Saturday night in Los Angeles as Bryce Elder will square off with a Dodger bullpen game. Elder has struggled at times in the second half by way of a 4.78 ERA across eight starts. Dave Roberts is yet to announce his starter, but expect a handful of arms cover the early and middle innings. First pitch is an hour earlier at 9:10 p.m. ET.