Ryan Boldt’s third-inning homer was Fried’s only mistake. He retired nine of the next 10 batters, and the only hit he allowed was erased with an ensuing inning-ending double play.
In 10 innings, Fried has allowed two runs, struck out eight with no walks. He’s looked like the same pitcher who broke out a year ago, when Fried posted a 2.25 ERA in 11 starts and finished fifth in Cy Young voting.
The Braves haven’t named their opening-day starter, but it will almost certainly be Fried facing the Phillies on April 1. He’d be the Braves’ third different opening-day starter in the past three years, following Mike Soroka (2020) and Julio Teheran (2019). The latter started six consecutive opening days.
“I’m excited for the regular season,” Fried said. “I still haven’t been told anything (about opening day). Whenever they tell me to pitch, I’ll be ready.”
Notes from Sunday:
- The Braves made their mark with explosive innings in 2020. They had a big one Sunday, scoring four, two-out runs in the third. Ronald Acuna walked, Ozzie Albies singled and both scored on Travis d’Arnaud’s single. Dansby Swanson blasted his first homer. All the damage was done against Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough, who’s a member of their rotation.
- Third baseman Jake Lamb singled off Yarbrough and chased home two runs in the second inning. The bench candidate has had a lackluster spring, entering Sunday 3-for-23 with an RBI. He’s still expected to make the team because Lamb provides needed left-handed power.
“We’re going to get him back in there tomorrow (Monday) — I think we’re facing all righties — so he’ll play first base and get at least three at-bats off a righthander tomorrow,” manager Brian Snitker said.
- The legend of Ehire Adrianza keeps growing. He doubled twice Sunday, giving him three in two days, and scored two runs. He’s 11-for-23 (.478) with four doubles, a homer and eight RBIs. The veteran infielder has done everything he can to earn a roster spot. At this point, it’d be an upset if he didn’t make the cut.
- Catcher William Contreras belted his first homer in the ninth inning. The Braves have spoken well of Contreras over the past few weeks as he competes against Alex Jackson for the back-up catcher role.
“There’s a kid, again, you saw he has unbelievable physical skills,” Snitker said. “He’s made some adjustments in his swing and continues to improve also. It’s a really good thing when you see your young players with skills. The more they play, they start to figure things out and get better.
- Kyle Wright will start Monday against Minnesota. It will be his fifth spring start, leading all Braves pitchers.