For years, fans of the Atlanta Braves have relived that moment where Tom Glavine stepped forward with a masterful performance in clinching game of the 1995 World Series. The parallels were there Tuesday night as Max Fried looked to shake off a rough outing in Game 2 and deliver the Braves a series clinching win.
“It’s indescribable. It’s something you dream about as a kid,” Fried said of being the winning pitcher in Game 6. “Something you always want to happen and you dream about, and to be able to kind of have this moment, it’s really special. But to be honest, I just got lucky that today was the day. All those guys in the clubhouse over there deserve this. It’s so awesome. Just couldn’t be happier for everyone.”
The game got off to a scary start for Fried and the Braves as Michael Brantley stepped on the back of Fried’s leg while he was attempting to cover first base. Fried somehow avoided injury but the Astros had runners at first and second with no one out. He returned to the mound, took some warm up pitches to make sure he was ok, and then mowed down the next three hitters striking out Yuli Gurriel looking to strand both runners. On the first inning
“Brantley stepped on the back of my leg, and at that point, the only thing I was worried about was first and second, nobody out, and I didn’t want the inning to get out of hand,” Fried said of the play. “I didn’t want to have a repeat of Game 2 where four runs come across and you look up and you’re down by a lot. So I just knew that I had to really just bear down and try to get out of it with at least one run. Lucky enough to get out of it with none.”
Fried was asked about the condition of his leg, but he said there was no way he was going to let it impact his performance.
“It didn’t feel good, but at that point, it’s the World Series,” Fried said. “You just got to figure out how to get through. Yeah, initially, I just knew that he stepped on my leg. I thought that he had not maybe hit the bag. If we could steal an out there, it would be huge. It was more of it got tight, but it was never any shooting pain or anything too severe or uncomfortable.”
That set the tone for the rest of the game as Fried settled in. He retired six straight before Jorge Soler’s three-run home run in the third gave him a lead to work with.
At that point, it’s obviously a tight game, 0-0, trading zeros,” Fried said of Soler’s homer. “For him to get into one and give a little bit of a cushion, it just allows me to go out there and just be a little bit more aggressive. I’m attacking hitters. The solo homer doesn’t beat you anymore. It’s more about not giving free base runners, and honestly just wanted to have them earn it.
He allowed a lead off single to Carlos Correa in the fourth but he was erased as Yordan Alvarez grounded into a double play. Fried struck out two more in a perfect fifth. He allowed a two out infield single to Brantley in the sixth but struck out Correa again to slam the door.
In all it was a masterful performance. Fried allowed just four hits and struck out six over six shutout innings. He threw 74 pitches with 50 going for strikes.
As he exited the game he was greeted by Freddie Freeman who gave him a big hug. After the game, Fried was asked about the moment and what Freeman said to him.
“It’s just one of those things where you know how much that he’s been going through, just from the beginning of going through the rebuild to winning the division and then winning it four times and getting to the playoffs, getting past the first round, and then eventually World Series champion, Fried said.”
“He sent me a really, really awesome text message this morning that was just a big boost of encouragement, just saying that he believed in me and that he knew that I could get this done. To be able just to have that support from someone like that, it made my confidence go up and I knew that I had 25 other guys behind me that were just ready for me to get out there and go and just be myself.”