Max Fried will make his first career Opening Day start Thursday when the Atlanta Braves open the 2021 regular season on the road in Philadelphia. The game is the first of three against the Phillies and will kick off a six-game road trip to begin the season for Atlanta.
Fried is looking to build off of a strong 2020 season where he stepped up as the rest of Atlanta’s rotation was lost to either injury or underperformance. He came up big posting a 2.25 ERA (2.81 xERA) in 56 innings spanning 11 starts. Fried is the first left-handed pitcher for the Braves to start on Opening Day since Tom Glavine in 2002. He has faced the Phillies 11 times in his career (5 starts) and has a 4.15 ERA in 34 2/3 innings.
The Phillies will counter with right-hander Aaron Nola who will be making his fourth consecutive Opening Day start. Nola remains one of the more underrated pitchers around Major League Baseball. He posted a 3.28 ERA (3.37 xERA) over 71 1/3 innings in 2020 while averaging more than 12 strikeouts per nine innings. He has made 20 starts against the Braves in his career posting a 3.05 ERA in 124 innings.
After a slow start to the offseason, the Phillies did what many expected and locked up J.T. Realmuto to a longterm deal while also bringing back shortstop Didi Gregorius. New President of Baseball Ops Dave Dombrowski also did his best to revamp Philadelphia’s bullpen which was a major weakness in 2020 with the additions of Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado and Brandon Kintzler.
Thursday’s game will get underway at 3:05 p.m. ET and is the first in a series of early starts for the road trip. The game will be broadcast on Bally Sports South.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, April 1, 3:05 p.m. ET
Location: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network