I would venture to guess the Braves took advantage of their off day.
Max Fried looked solid, the Mets looked LOLost, and the Braves offense absolutely erupted for another blow out victory against an NL East opponent.
Despite a less than ideal first inning in which the Braves left a few potential runs on the bases, Atlanta was on point once again all night long. After Marcell Ozuna’s RBI single in the first, the Braves found success again in the second, as Freddie Freeman let New York know their owner was back in town with a two run double.
No. 15— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) September 18, 2020
Marcell Ozuna is now tied for the NL lead in home runs. pic.twitter.com/jxj3ElKLN4
Marcell Ozuna decided that things were just getting started, as he brought Freeman home with a two-run tater, his 15th of the season. Though the Braves would go quietly to end the second inning after that, they did so with a 5-0 lead. After Max Fried quickly worked his way through the Mets order in the bottom of the second inning, Austin Riley decided to join the party with a solo home run to center to make the score 6-0 in the top of the third inning.
The Braves truly were just getting started, as after an Ozuna walk in the top of the fourth, cleanup hitter Travis d’Arnaud connected for his eighth home run of the year to make the score 8-0. After two walks to Riley and Adam Duvall, Nick Makarkis lined a double into left center to drive in two more runs to make it 10-0.
Ozzie Albies decided to keep the run parade going as he launched his fourth home run of the year into the New York night to increase the Braves lead to 12. Innings with one, four, one, and six runs to start off the night is a pretty good turn of events and the Braves enjoyed every minute of it.
Fried continued to be in control with two quick outs in the bottom of the fourth, but a hit batsman and a wild pitch followed. However, Fried composed himself to end the Mets threat. After the Braves failed to score in the top of fifth inning, Fried again encountered a bit of trouble, this time allowing a double to Jeff McNeil, which scored Amed Rosario. Fried then recorded two straight outs to end the inning.
Overall, Fried completed five innings, allowing two walks, three hits, and producing three strikeouts. His velocity was still a bit down to start the game, but he was regularly hitting 95 MPH in the fourth inning and stayed around 92-93 MPH for most of the game. A big key for Fried was that 70% of his pitches went for strikes, and though he may not have been dominant, he certainly was in command and looked to be just fine coming off his back injury.
After two quick outs in the top of the sixth, Albies and Ronald Acuna Jr. decided that it was a good time for the Best Duo of Best Friends in Baseball to go back-to-back. The two long balls extended the Braves lead to 14-1, and with Fried going five innings, he had more than enough support to earn his seventh win of the season.
Rosario singled in the Mets second run of the night in the bottom of the sixth inning, and after the Braves were kept quiet in the top of the seventh inning, Luke Jackson once again proved he was “Dr. Drama”, as a walk and single created a Mets threat but Jackson was able to find his way out of trouble without a run scoring. The Braves once again found success in the top of the eighth, as Ender Inciarte singled in Riley to make the score 15-2. Though the Braves attempted to add on more, the Mets got the third out with the bases loaded.
Despite hitting a batter, Jackson looked decent in the bottom of the eighth to record two scoreless innings on the night. Neither the Braves nor the Mets would add to the score in the ninth inning, and the Braves emphatically secured the series opener 15-2. Six more home runs and contributions from nearly every offensive starter highlighted a satisfying return for Max Fried. Not only did the Braves have a wonderful game against one of the tougher arms they have faced over the past few years, they did it early to make sure the game was never in doubt. If the Braves offense can get going early in the game consistently right before the postseason, it is another encouraging development that shows this team can make a big impact in October.