Not exactly what the Braves were hoping for as they started off this homestand. Atlanta has dropped the first two games in a rematch of the 2021 World Series against the Houston Astros. Both games have been entertaining, at least right up until the end, and have featured back and forth affairs in which the bullpen hasn't quite been able to come through.
On Friday, Bryce Elder was fantastic pitching six innings of one run ball before Jesse Chavez and pen imploded leading to 6-4 Astro's victory. Last night brought it's own share of miseries as Kyle Wright was inneficient and the Atlanta defense fell apart in another 6-3 victory for Houston. The good news is Max Fried is back and on the mound on Sunday to help stop the bleeding and get the Braves back on the right side of the ledger befroe Miami comes to town for a divisional contest on Monday.
The Houston Astros may have provided Max Fried with both his highest and lowest moments as a major league pitcher. In game two of the 2021 World Series labored through five innings, giving up six runs on seven hits as Houston evened the series at one game apiece. The lefty ace got his chance at redemption however as he toed the rubber in game six. Fried was masterful, pitching six innings of shutout baseball, striking out six while only allowing four hits to an offense that had ranked first in MLB in runs, hits and batting average on the season. Atlanta would explode for three home runs on the way to capturing their first world series in over two decades shutting out Houston 7-0.
Atlanta will need Fried to show that kind of resolve to help end this losing streak and salvage a victory in the series. Fried was excellent in his return from the IL, shutting down the Padres and giving up only four hits.
The Braves offense will face off against Cristian Javier who has been very solid on the young season. Javier is 2-0 with a 3.68 ERA. The right hander is coming off arguably his best start of the season, holding the vaunted Blue Jays offense to only one run over five innings. Javier doesn't strike a ton of guys out, averaging less than 5 a game; it will imperative for the Braves to take advantage of balls put in play and try to get the Astro's bullpen early.