Things went poorly for the Braves on Tuesday against the Marlins. After an early barrage from the Atlanta offense, who plated three runs in the first inning, the Marlins did some hitting of their own and eventually won the game 14-8.
As noted above, this game began with the Braves scoring three quick runs against Marlins starter Pablo Lopez. With Freddie Freeman moving back into the two spot, he doubled in his first at-bat, then scored on a Marcell Ozuna home run to give Atlanta a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Ozzie Albies hit another home run, staking Max Fried to a 3-0 lead. Unfortunately, the young hurler was unable to hold the fort.
It was abundantly clear that Fried was not feeling it tonight, which the Marlins exposed in a big way. The Miami offense quickly erased the Atlanta lead in the second inning, tying the game at three and perpetuating the early-season struggles that have plagued Fried through three starts in 2021. Fried worked four innings on Tuesday, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits with two walks, giving him a 10.64 ERA on the season. That number can be attributed to some bad luck, as his 6.33 FIP, 4.22 xFIP, and .513 opponents BABIP might indicate, but the results are still alarming. Contact has been solid, and two more homers allowed against Miami only add to the concern.
After Fried exited, trailing 8-4, the Braves plated two runs on singles by Freeman and Ozuna to pull the deficit to 8-6. The game remained as such until the sixth, when the Marlins scored three runs against Josh Tomlin to push their lead to 11-6. In the seventh, Grant Dayton allowed three more runs to give the Marlins a 14-6 lead. Those final three runs came on an Adam Duvall homer, which gave the former Brave seven RBI in the game. He finished the evening 4-for-5 with a homer, four runs scored, and of course the seven RBI. It was quite the return for Duvall, who reminded fans (and hopefully front office personnel) that his power is something to behold.
The Braves scored a couple ‘garbage time’ runs against the weakest links in the Marlins bullpen, but the rally was halted before they could reach double-digits. Richard Bleier entered with two outs to retire Ender Inciarte, stranding two runners to slam the door on any hope of a miraculous comeback.
Allowing the Marlins to tee off at Truist Park is embarrassing in some ways, but having them do so against your Opening Day starter has to be somewhat demoralizing for Atlanta. They now sit at 4-7 for the season and have seen every aspect of the game, including the umpires, fail them in at least one game thus far. The offense has been streaky, the rotation has been susceptible, and the bullpen has been shaky. Converging some of the positives from these different areas would bode well for the Braves, but for now we must live with the reality that the staff ace has been really bad and the offense has been inconsistent.
A healthy, effective Max Fried is one of the brightest young stars in baseball. A return to that form would benefit all involved, but we will have to wait five days for that to potentially come to fruition. Charlie Morton will have an opportunity to right the ship on Wednesday as he takes the ball for another duel with Miami. Join us for coverage and let’s hope for a better outcome.