Braves open up in Baltimore with Max Fried against Orioles

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox
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Max Fried has been fantastic as of late. The Braves are going to need him to be great again if they’re going to have a shot against the Orioles tonight.

After dropping another four-game series to the Nationals, the Atlanta Braves have made the quick trip up north in the DMV area to take on the Baltimore Orioles.

As of right now, there are a handful of teams that are sitting on a winning percentage north of .600 and the Orioles are one of them. While they’re currently in second place since the Yankees are currently in the midst of a bounce-back season, it’s still pretty clear that Baltimore has picked up where they left off of last season and have hit the ground running. So needless to say, this is looking like a good time for the Orioles to catch the Braves and with the way Atlanta’s offense has been hitting recently, this could be a bad time for the Braves to run into the Orioles.

Baltimore’s pitching staff has been one of the best in baseball this season (collectively sitting on an ERA- of 82 and a FIP- of 89, both good for third in all of MLB) and today the Braves will be facing one of the many big contributors to Baltimore’s success on the mound this season. Albert Suárez is getting the start for the O’s and while he’s been utilized as a bit of a spot starter due to injury issues for Baltimore, he’s been effective in that role as he’s coming into this game with an ERA- of 48 and a FIP- of 68 for the season. He’s made six starts so far this season and while he’s only made it into the sixth inning for two of those starts, he’s only had one outing where he gave up more than three runs and that was all the way back in late-April.

Suárez has pitched 14 innings over his past three starts and has only given up 11 hits, five walks and three runs while striking out 12 batters. He wasn’t the pitcher of record in any of those three starts but the Orioles did win two out of three, so he’s clearly been doing more than enough to help put Baltimore in a position to win games. Hitters have been having a tough time with his cutter and his changeup, as both of those pitches have a sub .200 Batting Average against them and in the case of the changeup, it’s all the way down to .148. Make no mistake about it, Albert Suárez is going to be a tough customer and it would honestly be a pleasant shock if the Braves were able to break out while this guy was on the mound.

Fortunately for Atlanta, it’s the best day of the week for the Braves nowadays: Fried Day. Max Fried is going tonight and we’re all obviously hoping that he can deliver another strong start on the mound. Fried has gone at least seven innings in each of his past three starts and he’s gone at least six innings in all but four of his 12 starts so far this season. Has past three starts in particular have been fantastic to watch, as he’s thrown a complete game, pitched eight shutout innings and then struck out 13 over seven innings in those three consecutive starts.

Fried already had a big task on his hands to top those performances in any normal circumstances but now he’s got to contend with a Baltimore lineup that has been raking so far this season. Entering this game, the O’s have been collectively hitting at a .250/.310/.453 rate, with a wOBA of .331 and a team wRC+ of 118 which is good for being the third-best mark in all of baseball. Additionally, Fried faced the Orioles last season and it didn’t go particularly well for him as he surrendered seven runs (five earned), including two homers — one to Anthony Santander and one to Cedric Mullins. In fact, the Orioles as a team are currently leading baseball in home runs (104) and Isolated Power (.204), so this is definitely looking like it’s going to be Fried’s sternest test so far.

To be completely honest with y’all, it’s been a long time since I’ve gone into any game with the idea that things might be a wash for the Braves. Usually I’ve been able to safely assume that Atlanta can compete with any team in any game and always have a real shot to win. While I haven’t fallen into full-on pessimism just yet (and really, how could you when Max Fried is starting?), I think it’s fair to admit that this seems like a situation where the Braves are the clear underdogs tonight. As long as the offense continues to spin its wheels in the mud, that’ll continue to be the case for the Braves — especially when they’re facing off against a team the caliber of Baltimore’s. However, baseball is a weird sport and anything can happen on any given night, so hopefully we’ll see Fried set the tone and put the Braves out in front in this three-game series.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Tuesday, June 11, 6:35 P.M. ET

Location: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

TV: Bally Sports South

Streaming: MLB.tv

Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan

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Title: Braves open up in Baltimore with Max Fried against Orioles
Author: Demetrius Bell

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