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Fried strong as Braves bullpen falters in 5-3 loss

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MLB: NLCS-Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Max Fried’s first inning of spring training could have gone better, as he allowed a two out line drive single to J.D. Martinez after striking out Enrique Hernandez and inducing a groundout from Alex Verdugo, followed by an RBI double from Rafael Devers to score Martinez. He ended the first inning by getting Hunter Renfroe to fly out. Fried allowed a one-out double from Christian Vasquez in the second inning, but struck out Bobby Dalbec and induced another groundout to escape the inning unscathed. Fried was strong in the third inning, retiring the Red Sox batters in order, capped off with a J.D. Martinez strikeout. Max stayed in for the fourth inning and retired the Red Sox in order with two groundouts and a fly ball out. Fried seemed to grow into the game and was fairly strong in his first appearance of the spring.

Carl Edwards replaced Fried in the fifth inning and was pretty shaky, walking two batters and throwing a wild pitch to advance the runners before walking Alex Verdugo to lead the bases and finally inducing a groundout from J.D. Martinez to end the inning with no runs allowed. Victor Arano followed Edwards, taking over the sixth inning and struck out Rafael Devers before allowing two singles and a walk to load the bases. Bobby Dalbec hit a grand slam in the next at-bat to give the Red Sox a 5-3 lead. Arano got a groundout from Jarren Duran before walking Jonathan Arauz, prompting the Braves to roll the inning. Chad Sobotka came in for the seventh inning and struck out two batters in a scoreless inning, although he did walk a batter and allow a single.

William Woods, a prospect with an electric arm who has seen his prospect star rise rapidly in the past year came in to pitch in the eighth inning. Woods was very impressive as he struck out the side in order.

After a 1-2-3 first inning, the offense got going in the second inning, driven by projected bench candidates. Pablo Sandoval got the rally started with a leadoff single, followed by a walk from Guillermo Heredia and a single from Phillip Ervin. An error allowed Pablo Sandoval to score the Braves’ first run of the afternoon and allowed the runners to advance to 2nd and 3rd base. Travis Demeritte followed a William Contreras strikeout with a two RBI single that gave the Braves a 3-1 lead. Cristian Pache grounded into a double-play to end the second inning.

Johan Camargo, Jason Kipnis, and Pablo Sandoval went down in order in the top of the third inning. Contreras struck out for the second time of the day in the fourth inning, as a double from Ryan Goins was Atlanta’s only hit of the inning. Pache recorded his third ground ball out of the day in the fifth inning as the Braves were unable to muster a baserunner. According to the radio call, however, Pache was unlucky not to have a double down the third baseline on his groundout it in fifth, as Boston played great defense against him all day. Camargo also apparently played great defense with a lot of effort on the day.

Guillermo Heredia walked with two outs to provide Atlanta’s only baserunner of the sixth inning, but was caught stealing to end the inning. Ryan Goins reached base again with a one out single in the seventh inning, but the bases were cleared as William Contreras continued his rough day at the plate, grounding into an inning ending double-play. Demeritte had another hit in the form of an eighth inning single, but groundouts from Michael Harris and Bryce ball and a strikeout from Shea Langeliers ended the inning, with a walk from Ehire Adrianza mixed in.

Sean Kazmar and Heredia singled in the top of the ninth inning, but the Braves were unable to score a run in an attempt to come back in the top of the ninth.