With the Atlanta Braves struggles and injuries, it will be a nice shot in the arm when Max Fried returns to the mound on Wednesday.
Alex Anthopoulos put a lot of effort into building up the starting rotation this past offseason for the Atlanta Braves knowing they would need a lot of innings from several starters to get through 2021.
And that’s exactly what has happened with injuries to their top two starters in Mike Soroka and Max Fried. Drew Smyly has also missed some time, but that might have actually been a blessing in disguise (I kid … mostly).
But that pitching depth hasn’t led to great results as the Braves rank 26th in starter ERA coming into Wednesday with a 5.04 ERA.
Huascar Ynoa and Ian Anderson have been the team’s best two starters and are the only ones with an ERA under four.
Before Fried went down with the hamstring injury, he was among the worst starters in the league statistically with an 11.45 ERA in three starts — allowing 23 hits in 11 innings.
That’s certainly not the Fried we’ve come to know and love over the past four seasons where he’s posted an ERA of 4.02 or lower in each of those seasons.
Braves need Fried to be ace-like
If the Atlanta Braves are going to turn things around, they need Fried to be the Cy Young candidate that many believe he can be.
There’s no silver lining from those first three starts to indicate he was unlucky, he was just flat-out bad.
He has to put all of that behind him now and start fresh as he returns to face the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.
And the Braves need him to be that stopper for all these long losing streaks they keep having.
I know Ynoa and Anderson have been good, but Fried is capable of carrying this starting rotation when he’s pitching like we know he can.
Again, I don’t know what the answer is for Fried, but I certainly hope the time off has allowed him to figure it out and kind of reset this season. I wish the Braves could hit the reset button on this season.