Braves News: Max Fried exits early, Travis d'Arnaud hot at the plate in 7-2 win
By Brian Murray
Opening Day is finally here! The Atlanta Braves begin their quest for a sixth straight NL Division Title against the Washington Nationals with a matchup between Max Fried and Patrick Corbin. The Braves' bats were hot, the defense was cold, and there was an injury scare with Max Fried. But Atlanta opened the season with a 7-2 win over the Washington Nationals.
The Braves didn't waste any time to pose a threat, with a leadoff single by Ronald Acuna. He then stole second base, I'm sure the first of many to come. After Austin Riley drew a walk, Ozzie Albies hit a line drive fly ball that advanced Acuna to third. Unfortunately, the Braves weren't able to get anyone across the plate. A rare defensive communication miscue on a pop-up allowed Lane Thomas to reach base on a single by the Nationals. But he was immediately erased by a double play and Fried breezed through the first inning, facing the minimum number of batters.
Atlanta breaks out on top in the second inning with their first run of the 2023 season via three straight singles by Michael Harris, Travis d'Arnaud, and Orlando Arcia. Acuna then reached on a fielder's choice, loading up the bases. Riley draws a bases-loaded walk and Albies follows that up with a run-scoring single. For the second straight time, Nat's leadoff hitter reached first base on a would-be pop-up, but the sun plagued Arcia and the ball dropped. Dominic Smith then advanced to third on a double by Keibert Ruiz and scored on a sac fly. The Braves are up 3-1 after two innings.
Corbin's struggles continued with a leadoff double by Matt Olson in the fourth, and he was done for the day. He was removed in favor of reliever Erasmo Ramirez with nobody out and a runner in scoring position. Corbin surrendered seven hits, three walks, and ultimately four runs (two earned) in just three innings of work. The Braves then loaded up the bases with a walk by Riley and a single by Albies. Washington controlled the damage by only allowing one runner to score when Olson scored on a double play by Sean Murphy. Braves 4, Nationals 1.
After a groundout by Smith, Fried had to exit the game with an apparent hamstring issue. It looked like he favored his leg after coming off the mound to cover first base for the out. He tested it with the trainers watching and had trouble with his push-off. We can only hope it's a precautionary move and it's nothing serious. Lucas Luetge takes over for the Braves on the mound. Fried's numbers on the day: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.
Travis d'Arnaud kept up his hot day at the plate in the top of the ninth smashing a line drive double with two men on extending the lead to 6-2. D'Arnaud ended the day going 4-5 with two RBIs and two runs. The Braves amassed 12 hits with Acuna, Olson, and Albies collecting two hits a piece. On a day when the defense was a little shaky, with two miscues and two errors, the Braves bullpen consisting of Luetge, Jesse Chavez, Dylan Lee, Collin McHugh, and A.J. Minter did a decent job of protecting the lead, and the Braves won by a score of 7-2.
Next up for the Braves will be another matchup with Washington in Nationals Park at 4:05 EST on Saturday. Spencer Strider will try to continue his success of 2022 and go up against Josiah Gray.