While manager Brian Snitker tried to create some drama around who would get the Opening Day start for the Atlanta Braves, it was always going to be Max Fried.
It would have been a nice gesture to give Charlie Morton the Opening Day start as the veteran who came back to the Atlanta Braves and helped them get to the World Series but then didn’t get to finish it after the Game 1 injury.
However, Max Fried has become the ace of the Braves and will be at the top of the rotation for at least three more years while he’s under team control through arbitration.
Not only that, he was the one who finished off the 2021 season by shutting down the Houston Astros over 6 scoreless innings allowing just 4 hits with no walks and 6 strikeouts.
And anyone watching that game knows he could have pitched for 20 more innings and he wasn’t going to give up a run — he was that dominant that night.
It will be the second straight Opening Day start for Max Fried, but the first Opening Day start at home.
Last season he pitch on Opening Day in Philadelphia where he gave up 2 earned runs on 6 hits and 2 walks over 5 innings with 8 strikeouts as the Braves ended up losing that game 3-2 in 10 innings.
This year he’ll be at home going up against the Cincinnati Reds and their Opening Day starter, Tyler Mahle.
It’s honestly fitting for Max Fried to start on Opening Day as he was one of the first big pieces acquired in the rebuild that ultimately led to that World Series title in 2021.
The left-handed pitcher was traded from the San Diego Padres along with Dustin Peterson, Jace Peterson, and Mallex Smith before the 2014 season for Justin Upton and Aaron Northcraft.
Since making his debut in Atlanta during the 2017 season, Fried has posted a 3.34 ERA and 1.230 WHIP in 447 innings with 447 strikeouts.
Over the last two seasons, he’s 21-7 in 39 starts with a 2.84 ERA, 1.087 WHIP, and 208 strikeouts in 221.2 innings.
He’s the ace the Braves have desperately been searching for since the early 2000s and he’ll be a huge part of this rotation for at least the next three seasons.