1. Perhaps more than anything, the mark of an elite pitcher might be his ability to excel despite adversity.
At this moment, this is where Max Fried sits. On Saturday, he gave up six hits. He walked two more batters. He could’ve let this one get away.
Here’s what people will remember: He allowed only two runs over six innings.
“You just gotta know you gotta keep making pitches, and whatever happened in the past is in the past, and you just kind of have to turn the page,” Fried said. “It’s very cliché, but sometimes the clichés and belief in them gives you the ability and allows you to kind of just worry about what’s happening now or what’s coming next.”
Multiple Giants reached base in the second, third, fourth and sixth innings. In the third, Wilmer Flores smoked a two-run homer – his second two-run blast against Fried in the last week.
This was not easy.
Then again, this probably gave Fried a chance to show the gap between an ace like him – “He’s one of the top guys in the game,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said – and other starters.
“He had to battle today,” Snitker said. “It wasn’t real easy. He had to fight through some adversity and baserunners. He’s getting there. I think it’s just going to take some time to get going, but he made some really big pitches when he had to.”
2. Remember when some fans believed the world was crashing down when the Braves split a four-game series with the Pirates earlier this month?
Well, Atlanta has won five straight series since then. The Braves are 12-3 over that time.
This is as impressive as anything: The Braves have kept their foot on the gas pedal all season.
“I think a lot of it is guys have the same mentality, same goal,” Austin Riley said. “And we push each other. We are hard on each other when it comes to preparation. We stay on each other a lot, just messing with (each other). But I think that keeps it light, keeps it fun. This game can get monotonous a little bit, just 162 games. We’ve found a way to keep each other engaged on a nightly basis.”
3. Facing Sean Manaea in a tie game in the fifth inning, Riley sent a 402-foot solo home run over the left-field wall.
With this blast, Riley joined Matt Olson (43 homers) in the 30-homer club for the Braves. This team could write its name into history.
The 2019 Twins hold the MLB record for most players on a team with at least 30 home runs, with five of them (Rosario was one). The 1998 Braves own the franchise record, with four players who reached the 30-homer mark.
The 2023 Braves have a chance to make history: Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies and Marcell Ozuna all have 28 homers with a month to play.
4. Since the start of Atlanta’s Aug. 8 game, Orlando Arcia is 10-for-61.
Four of those 10 hits are home runs, the latest coming off Luke Jackson, Arcia’s former teammate, in the seventh inning. It gave the Braves a two-run lead.
Asked how he’s been able to show up to the ballpark every day as the same guy despite his slump, Arcia said this through interpreter Franco García: “We’re a good team. Even if I don’t do well, I’ve gotta support my teammates.”
5. Jared Shuster will start Sunday’s game for the Braves.
He has a 5.00 ERA over nine big-league starts this season, and a 5.77 ERA over 13 starts in Triple A. This season can be beneficial for him going forward because of all he’s experienced.
“He’s a young guy that’s getting a lot of great on-the-job training, and I think the fact that he broke camp with us and he’s been up and down, he’s getting how all this works now,” Snitker said. “This is kind of a shock to your system, I think, when you first feel all that. ... He’s got a chance to play in the major leagues for a long time, that kid.”
Stat to know
112 - Matt Olson, who leads baseball in RBIs, added two more. He has a career high with 112, surpassing the 111 runs he knocked in during the 2021 season in Oakland.
“It makes it so I don’t have to feel like I have to be perfect and go out there and throw up zeroes every time. Obviously I want to go out there and keep runs off the board, but if I have a little slip up like today, as long as I keep my head down and keep trying to put up some zeroes, they’re going to explode at any time. I just knew that I had to gather myself and be able to make some good, quality pitches.” - Fried on pitching with the support of Atlanta’s lineup
The Braves will go for the sweep on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. ESPN will broadcast the game.