The Atlanta Braves began their pursuit of a sixth-straight NL East title with a decisive victory over the Washington Nationals.
Max Fried‘s Solid Start and Early Exit
There was some bad with the good, yesterday. Max Fried started for the Braves and was in a good rhythm but was removed from the game with a strained hamstring. As of now, Fried doesn’t expect to miss his next start. This is obviously a huge sigh of relief for Braves’ fans as Fried is the definitive ace of the staff and was even picked by ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian to win the Cy Young in 2023.
Fried looked good while he played, pitching 3.1 innings, allowing just one earned run. Fried’s aresenal was on full display. Gone are the days of his fastball/curveball mix. His second-most used pitch today was his slider.
Bright 1:00 pm March Sky Made Fielding Flyballs an Adventure
There were several dropped flyballs due to the sun gleaming down into the eyes of shortstops and centerfielders.
The sun caused an early flyball to drop in between Ozzie Albies and Michael Harris II. Then we saw Orlando Arcia miss a routine flyball to short thanks to the sun. Robles made it look good with this catch in the top of the third inning.
In more weirdness, Michael Harris II tried to make a throw home in the second inning. The throw was good, it was on target, and bounced off the mound. Only thing is, it hit the lip of the mound and spun out like a stunt driver in a James Bond movie, taking a sharp left turn away from home plate. Whimsy charged Harris with an error today.
Arcia Celebrates 3-Year Extension With a Good Day at the Plate
Orlando Arcia signed a three-year extension with the Braves last night and celebrated by having a solid opening day for the Braves. As Alex Anthopoulos was in the booth discussing Arcia’s extension and the value he brings to the club, the shortstop drove in the first run of the game.
Matt Olson Stayed Hot After Incredible Spring
This spring, Matt Olson was the best player in the Grapefruit League. He led the way with eight homers and an OPS in excess of 1.500.
We’ve seen monster springs not translate to the regular season time and time again. Olson didn’t have that issue today.
Matt Olson had the hardest hit ball and the fourth hardest hit ball of the game.
- Matt Olson: 112.8 mph
- Orlando Arcia: 109.4 ,mph
- Travis d’Arnaud: 109.1 mph
- Matt Olson: 107.9 mph
Olson finished with two hits and a run scored.
Acuna Could Steal 50 Bases in 2023
Ronald Acuna Jr. led off with the first hit of the season with a beautiful opposite field single.
Then, he got us all excited at the prospect of how many bases he could steal this year. In fact, we’ve already prognosticated about what his total could be with the new rules. We saw those rules work to his advantage in the first inning.
Patrick Corbin expired his two pickoff attempts on Acuna right away. This meant Corbin was not allowed to go back to first unless he got Acuna out or it would result in a balk. Acuna went and fell down. Luckily, Olson fouled the pitch off and gave Acuna another chance. Acuna had the first hit and stolen base of the 2023 season.
Travis d’Arnaud’s Big Opening Day
As we discussed in a previous article, Travis d’Arnaud could be a fantasy sleeper this year since he’ll be more rested and likely will get time at DH. TDA started the season with a bang in the DH spot. He posted a four-hit day with two RBI and two runs scored.
Atlanta Braves Bullpen Steps up for Fried
The bullpen stepped in for Fried after he exited in the third. The elite arms out of the pen limited the anxiety that could have been. Over 6.2 innings, the relievers allowed just one earned run.
The game begins 4:05 EST and can be seen on Bally Sports SE or MLB.TV if you are out of market. The game can also be heard on 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan