Max Fried will start Game 1 of NLCS for Braves

Credit: Curtis Compton /

Credit: Curtis Compton /

Left-hander Max Fried will start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers, the Braves announced Friday. Game 1 will be played Saturday at Truist Park.

Fried started Game 1 of the 2020 NLCS against the Dodgers, allowing one run over six innings in the Braves’ win. Fried has pitched once this postseason, pitching six scoreless innings in the Braves’ Game 2 Division Series win over the Brewers.

The lefty finished the season with an MLB-best 1.74 ERA in the second half. The Dodgers haven’t announced who will start Game 1, though manager Dave Roberts indicated Max Scherzer could still make his scheduled outing despite recording the save in their Game 5 victory over the Giants on Thursday.

ExploreHeaded to Truist Park for the NLCS? Here’s what you need to know

Manager Brian Snitker hadn’t announced how the Braves’ rotation would align after Fried, but Ian Anderson and Charlie Morton will start the contests in some order.

“I feel really good about all three of the guys that we’re going to be featuring,” Snitker said. “But it’s a significant difference than a year ago when we started this tournament (and the Braves were patching together a rotation). I feel really good about where Max is in the season, where Charlie is and what he’s done throughout his career. I think it’s a really good feeling to know we have two guys like that that we could choose.”

For Fried, it will be another outing against his childhood team. The 27-year-old is a Santa Monica, Calif., native.

“It’s definitely kind of nostalgic of just being able to look back, and it’s obviously a team I was rooting for growing up,” Fried said. “But at this point in my career, I’m pretty settled in with the Braves. It’s the team I’ve been with the longest in my professional career, and definitely being able to make my debut here and kind of just experience everything that I have, my connection to the Braves right now is just as strong.”

Braves notes:

- The Braves and Dodgers are quite familiar with each other. This will be the third time they’ve faced off in the postseason in four years.

“It can work for you and against you,” Fried said. “They obviously know what you’ve done in the past, but they have also seen you a couple times, too. So at the end of the day, it’s kind of like what I said before, it’s just really about execution and just going out there and laying it out on the line. There’s no secrets. We know each other well enough by now, and it’s just going to go out there and just handle it between the lines.”

- With slugger Jorge Soler out because of COVID-19, the Braves have an opening at the leadoff spot. Snitker reiterated he likes shortstop Dansby Swanson in the role. Swanson started Game 4 of the NLDS at leadoff, hitting a double.

“I like him up there,” Snitker said. “We were kind of hit with a situation that we really weren’t prepared for, obviously. So it’s different. I’m confident in whoever we put up there. If Dansby is up there, he’ll do fine. He profiles as that kind of back-in-the-day type leadoff hitter. Now it’s a little bit different, but we were dealt a hand we weren’t expected, so we’re going to have adjust again. So we’ll be fine.”

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