Max Fried’s strong start propels Braves to sweep of Marlins, closer to Mets

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

The Braves (84-51) poured it on after a rain delay and swept the Marlins with a 7-1 victory at Truist Park.

Here are five observations from Sunday’s game:

1. Max Fried strung together five solid innings before the weather shut him down for the remainder of the afternoon. The 28-year-old bounced back from a shaky start in his last outing and picked up his 13th win of the season.

Fried hasn’t dwelled on his bad starts this season.

“I think before I would put too much stock into what happened in the past or what happened before,” Fried said. “And it would cause me to kind of worry about things that I can’t control. And, for me, it’s just easier to focus on what I can do today and the preparation that leads into my next one.

“Obviously, use the stuff from the past and my past experience to learn and make the adjustments going forward. So I don’t hopefully make the same mistake twice. But, yeah, I would say that I put a lot more emphasis and effort into just good, bad, indifferent, leaving (it) in the past and just focusing on what I can do on the next one.”

His performance Sunday lowered his ERA to 2.48, which ranks seventh overall in MLB behind Justin Verlander, Dylan Cease, Shane McClanahan, Julio Urias, Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen.

Fried, who struck out six, gave up no hits and no runs in five innings before the rain picked up and cut his outing short.

Fried and manager Brian Snitker were eager to see how long Fried could go.

“He was throwing the ball really, really good,” Snitker said. “I thought last time he struggled through five. This time, it was kind of, yeah, I was expecting him to go deep.”

ExploreBraves sweep Marlins

2. Though Fried wasn’t able to go longer because of the rain delay, he took comfort in the fact that he has a solid bullpen backing him up. The game was delayed for almost two hours, so the team called on reliever Jesse Chavez when play resumed.

Chavez threw two solid innings, striking out three, giving up one hit and no runs.

Collin McHugh surrendered one run but held on as the Marlins tried to pull closer in the eighth inning.

Kirby Yates closed the game with two strikeouts.

“You know, that was a pretty good homestand,” Snitker said. “The pitching was real good. The bullpen was really good. Had some really good starts. (Heck), that’s what we need to do this time of year. We’re down to under 30 or whatever, I think. So, hopefully, we keep rolling.”

The Braves rank fifth in MLB and second in the National League behind the Dodgers with a combined ERA of 3.44.

The team credits the success of its bullpen to the preparation the relievers do and the work that’s completed behind the scenes. It allows the pitching staff to feel confident that everyone is on the same page.

“That’s a good feeling knowing they feel that way,” Chavez said. “Because we feel the same way when we go down there from the first inning on. We don’t expect the phone to ring until the seventh inning. Because like I said, because of all the work they do and the studying they do, the preparation they do. And I tell guys, all you can do is preparation. Once you get out there, it’s out of our control. We don’t know if the ball is gonna leak back over the plate, if they’re gonna swing or if they’re gonna take it. So, once we do preparation, that’s all that matters.”

3. Veteran Marcell Ozuna has done plenty of preparation after missing the last three series. Ozuna has had off-the-field struggles, but the Braves are confident in his ability to contribute.

So, Ozuna returned to the lineup Friday, and Snitker said the team wanted to see if he could get going again.

The 31-year-old outfielder seemed to find his rhythm, going 4-for-9 in this weekend’s series. He hit a home run in the fourth inning Sunday.

“Yeah, you know, I was just working harder every single day in the cage and in the batting practice, and I was trying to get myself in the spot to be able to hit the ball and make contact and then help the team the most I can,” Ozuna said.

ExplorePhotos: Braves complete three-game sweep against rival Marlins

4. The Braves got another big game from rookie Michael Harris, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games.

Harris went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs Sunday. He continues to impress teammates and the coaching staff. He now has 50 RBIs and is tied for fourth among MLB rookies.

“It just seems like every big moment he steps up there, you know, he gets the job done,” Austin Riley said.

5. The Braves are one game behind the Mets (85-50) in the NL East, but they are about to embark on a West Coast road trip.

After a two-game series in Oakland, the Braves will face the Mariners, who have a top-10 pitching staff with a combined ERA of 3.50. Then the Braves will face the Giants.

The Mets have an easier schedule, but the Braves have done a good job of defeating the teams that they’re supposed to, which has helped them gain ground.

Braves 7, Marlins 1 (box score)

Stat to know

Heading into the afternoon, the Braves were 19-23 in day games, but they now have won four of their last five such games.

Quotable

“It means that that’s a really good player. And he’s come up here and how he’s handled everything is just unbelievable.” – Snitker on Harris reaching 50 RBIs this season

Up next

The Braves head to the West Coast to take on the Athletics on Tuesday night in the first of a two-game series. Braves right-hander Kyle Wright (17-5, 2.85) will face A’s left-hander Cole Irvin (7-11, 3.35).