MLB: Reeling Braves turn to Max Fried vs. Nationals

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The Atlanta Braves will turn to ace left-hander Max Fried on Tuesday when they try to even their four-game series with the visiting Washington Nationals.

The Nationals won the series opener 8-4 on Monday afternoon, the first meeting between the two National League East foes this season.

Fried (4-2, 3.38 ERA) will be opposed by right-hander Jake Irvin (2-5, 3.79).

In his previous outing Wednesday, Fried retired the first 15 batters he faced against the host Chicago Cubs. He threw his second complete game of the season and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits, no walks and nine strikeouts in the Braves’ 9-2 win.

“Max is a very unique guy,” Atlanta catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “He is a Game 6 World Series winner. He wants the ball against any team. He wants the ball in the biggest moments of this sport. When he’s not doing well, he knows how to fix it really quick. He understands who he is as a pitcher, doesn’t try to do too much. I think that’s all the characteristics of an ace — and he’s definitely an ace.”

Fried has made 17 appearances, 16 starts, against Washington in his career, going 7-4 with a 4.22 ERA. He faced the Nationals twice last season and went 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA.

Irvin has lost his past three decisions and is seeking his first win since April 29. In his most recent outing on Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins, Irvin pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on five hits with six strikeouts.

“Jake pitched really well, he really did,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “He kept us in the game.”

Irvin has faced the Braves once in his career, taking a loss last season after giving up five runs in 2 2/3 innings.

The Braves are now without starting right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who tore his left ACL on Sunday and will miss the rest of the season. Acuna, the 2023 NL MVP, tore the ACL in his right knee in 2021 and missed most of that season.

Atlanta’s immediate plans have Adam Duval and Jarred Kelenic both in the lineup; the duo had been platooning. Atlanta recalled J.P. Martinez from Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday to be the fourth outfielder. Another option is speedy Forrest Wall, who made the club’s opening-day roster and was sent down to Gwinnett so he could play every day.

“Right now, it’s going to be pretty consistent,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s what you see. That’s who we got.”

The Nationals got a boost when Lane Thomas was activated from the injured list on Sunday. The right fielder had missed 29 games with a left MCL strain. He had two doubles in his return to the lineup.

“The boys have been playing well and I was just itching to be part of it,” Thomas said. “I’m glad to be back.”

Despite missing a month with the injury, Thomas still ranks tied for 10th in the National League with 11 stolen bases.

–Field Level Media

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