Max Fried and Marcell Ozuna, as they’ve done much of the season, helped lift the Braves to a 2-0 win over the Nationals at Truist Park on Tuesday.

Here are five observations from the game:

1. Fried had a 7.71 ERA through his first four starts. He now owns a 2.97 ERA through 11 outings, having pitched eight scoreless innings against the Nationals after tossing a complete game against the Cubs.

This is Fried at his finest, attacking the strike zone and showing that precise command that’s made him one of baseball’s best lefties. He achieved Tuesday’s results despite surrendering three hits in the opening frame, too.

In his last two starts, Fried has struck out 15 and walked one while allowing one run on 10 hits (17 innings). He had a 2.04 ERA across five starts this month, striking out 29 and walking 10. Dating back to the second inning of his second start, Fried has a 1.80 ERA in 65 innings.

“He’s in a good groove right now,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He was really solid and left it all out there, too.”

The infield also turned four double plays behind Fried. “The defense was amazing tonight,” the lefty said.

2. An important aspect of Fried’s success: He’s covering innings. He’s pitched at least seven frames in five of his starts. He’s logged 66-1/3, extremely encouraging for a player who’s surpassed the 180 innings mark once (185-1/3 in 2022).

“I enjoy going deep into games,” Fried said. “I pride myself on it, especially having a couple (starts) early on where I got forced out early. It doesn’t sit well with me. Just trying to do as much as I can to really just attack and go after hitters. Just trying to give us the best chance possible to get deep into games and give the bullpen a blow.”

The Braves’ offense isn’t performing anywhere close to its expectations, so the team is getting carried by its pitching. Fried, Chris Sale and Reynaldo Lopez have been invaluable as June approaches.

And Fried has put his early season struggles far in the rearview.

“He’s totally different (from his first two starts),” Ozuna said. “His personality, he’s coming up there and going to have fun the way he has in the past when he’s done well. And today was amazing. I’m proud of him and I thank God that I homered for him.”

3. About the offense: The Braves were mostly silenced by Mitchell Parker on Monday. They looked lifeless at times facing Jake Irvin on Tuesday, collecting two hits and striking out 10 times through six scoreless innings (setting a new career high for Irvin). That’s the offense’s state right now.

But Ozuna, who’s carried the group for much of the year, greeted reliever Jacob Barnes with a home run that snapped a scoreless tie in the seventh. Ozuna leads the National League with 16 homers; the next highest total is 13 (Bryce Harper and Shohei Ohtani). He also has a 21-game on-base streak, the third-longest active run in MLB.

4. Fried provided a reminder that the offense carried the pitching for stretches during the historic 2023 campaign. Now, the Braves’ pitching is doing the heavy lifting while the offense tries to find itself, though Fried expressed full faith the group will start producing.

“We were piecing together a rotation last year with a bunch of different guys and the offense was lifting us,” Fried said. “These guys are still putting together really good at-bats. A lot of hard-hit balls that aren’t falling. Sometimes that’s the luck of baseball. I’m really liking our at-bats. I know these guys are due and I’m not worried about them.”

5. How valuable have Fried and Sale been? The Braves are a combined 17-5 in their outings. They’re 14-16 in games started by everyone else.

Stat to know

3.00 -- Fried is 5-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 11 career starts against the Nationals.


“We’re going to get that thing going again. That offense is going to get going again to what we’re capable of. It’s just taking a while. You don’t know when. But we’re going to keep working at it.” – Snitker

Up next

The Braves’ Spencer Schwellenbach will make his major-league debut Wednesday against Nationals lefty MacKenzie Gore (3-4, 3.04).