The Braves couldn’t afford to lose Fried for a large chunk of time. He’s been the rotation’s lone stable presence throughout the season. First baseman Freddie Freeman called Fried the team’s first-half MVP because he provided the stability so desperately needed after the rotation was decimated by injury and ineffectiveness.
Fried doesn’t expect any lingering effects from the injury. He’s thrown nearly every day while sidelined. The southpaw likely will make two more starts before the postseason begins.
“My back locked up on me,” Fried said. “The more I was trying to go out there, it stiffened up the later it got in there, just at that point we didn’t want to take too many risks. I knew it was muscular. I knew it was tightness in the back that just locked up on me. We’ve been doing a really good job getting treatment and making sure it won’t happen again.”
The Braves' rotation is coming together with Fried, Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright and now Cole Hamels, who made his debut Wednesday. They’ll need each one of them given the new postseason layout. When teams enter the Texas or California bubble, there won’t be any off days in series until the World Series. The scheduling quirk will require different pitching strategies than usual postseasons.