Coming off the heels of a series win against Shohei Ohtani and his Angels, which saw the hottest bats in baseball outscore Anaheim 18-10, the Braves are looking to stay on their current path to the seasons' end, staying consistently deadly and hotter than the rest of the 29 teams.
In a move that will all but definitely add a surge to baseball's most electric team, it was announced that Max Fried's three-month injury hiatus is coming to a close. He is set to rejoin the helm of the rotation as the Braves enter a series against an undershadowed Cubs lineup who have scored a whopping 36 runs in the last two days.
Brian Snitker announced the return of Atlanta's ace on Wednesday, during his segment on 680 the FAN which is aptly-named The Snitker Report.
Max will take the bump for the first time in months as the Braves will look to stay hot and make quick work of Chicago.
Fried, who has been sidelined with a forearm situaton since the dawn of May, will undoubtebly look to hit "unpause" and continue right where he left off. Through 26 short innings of work this season, Fried is hurling a 2.08 ERA with a 2-1 record, a 1.077 WHIP and a 0.7 HR/9. The positive results from his recent rehab stint suggest the scintillating southpaw is ready to reclaim his spot on the big stage, which the Braves will need as they go toe-to-toe with a stealthy Cubs lineup that has been turning heads lately around the baseball world.
Old Friends, New Battles
A familiar face will be awaiting the potent Braves lineup this weekend, as Marietta-bred Dansby Swanson will be manning shortstop and, more importantly, facing his hometown team for the first time since exiling to Chicago. It seems rather fitting that his first reunion will happen with Fried on the bump, which may come with a glimmer of relief for Snitker and his Braves.
While his full season numbers don't suggest a threat level at the plate as high as a Matt Olson or an Aaron Judge type, they don't paint a complete picture, especially as of late. Through his last 15 games, the former Braves shortstop is slashing .309/.371/.737 with 7 HR and 16 RBI.
Swanson and his new friends in Chicago are making a statement in an NL Central loaded with talent, recently poking their head back above .500 with an impressive 8-2 record over their last ten games. With a lineup loaded with potential and proven, potent bats, the Braves will need to ride the momentum of regaining their ace coupled with a hopeful resurgence from a streaky bullpen if they want to stay on the successful run they've been on so far this season.
Look for hitters to catch fire and baseballs to pepper the bleachers as a battle of burning bats takes place over the weekend. First pitch of the series is scheduled for 2:20 PM.