Saturday, September 23, 2023
Sports Gaming Monitor

MLB Preview: Atlanta Braves (83-44) at San Francisco Giants (66-62)


TODAY’S GAME: The Braves and Giants today continue a three-game weekend series in what is the fifth of six scheduled meetings between the teams this season…The two last met just five days prior to the start of this series, wrapping up a three-game set at Truist Park last weekend.

  • The Braves won the opener, 5-1, last night, and have won three-of-four with the Giants this season. • Atlanta went 4-3 against San Francisco last season,and has not lost the season set with the Giants since 2016…In the five seasons since, the Braves are 22-15 (.595) against the Giants, winning five-of-seven games in 2019 and four-of-seven in 2017… The clubs split six games in both 2021 and 2018.
  • The Braves went 1-2 against the Giants here at Oracle Park last season, and have not won a series here since taking three-of-four in 2019…In 74 games here at Oracle Park since its opening in 2000, Atlanta is just 33-41 (.446).
  • LH Max Fried has never lost to the Giants, going 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA (10 ER/39.0 IP) over seven career appearances, including six starts…The 6-foot-4, 190-pound left-hander pitched against them just six days ago, and allowed nine hits and three runs over 5.2 innings in a no-decision…In nine starts for Atlanta this season, Fried is 4-1 with a 2.83 ERA (15 ER/47.2 IP).
  • RH Ryan Walker is set to make just the 11th start and 35th appearance of his major league career, and his first against Atlanta…The 6-foot-1, 200-pound rookie is 4-2 with a 2.14 ERA (11 ER/46.1 IP), 53 strikeouts and one save in his debut season…San Francisco is 7-3 in his 10 starts, but has lost each of his last three such turns…Walker has not pitched more than 2.2 innings in a start this season.

WIN: The Braves beat the Giants, 5-1, last night to take the opening game of the series…Atlanta moved to 15-7 (.681) in series-opening games on the road this year.

  • Spencer Strider went 7.0 innings and allowed just one run for Atlanta in the start, and earned his majors-most 15th win with the victory…RH Kyle Wright led the majors with 21 wins for Atlanta last season…The Braves moved to 13-2 this season when their starter goes at least 7.0 innings.
  • Atlanta has not had back-to-back N.L. wins leaders since 1998, the last year of a string of eight straight seasons (1991-98) in which a Braves pitcher finished the year with at least a share of the most wins in the National League.
  • Strider opened the game with six scoreless innings, running his streak to a career-best 20 scoreless frames dating to his start on August 12…Strider allowed a run in the seventh to stop his streak.
  • Matt Olson doubled and collected two RBI on the game, snapping a streak of five straight games without driving in a run…He had just one longer streak without an RBI this season, going six straight games in April… His 110 RBI are the most in baseball.

FIRST INNING: Michael Harris II drove a 1-1 pitch out to right field in last night’s first inning for a solo home run, and Atlanta has a majors-most 124 runs in
the first this season…No other team has more than 96 such runs (Dodgers).

  • The Braves single-season franchise mark for first-inning runs is 127, set in 1999…Atlanta is three runs shy of matching that mark this season, and has scored at least three runs in the first in 20 different games this year.
  • Atlanta is on pace for 158 runs in the first inning this season…The modern-era record for such runs is 160 set by the Red Sox in 1950, while the N.L. record is 147 by the Cardinals in 2000.
  • Per MLB’s Sarah Langs, Atlanta’s 124 runs, 177 hits and +76 run differential in the first inning this season are the most of any team in any inning, and the Braves’ 36 homers in the first are tied with the Dodgers (also the first) for most in a single frame.
  • Atlanta is batting .332/.392/.606 with a .998 OPS in the first inning, all of which are tops in the majors.

PITCHING THIS MONTH: Three Atlanta pitchers combined to allow just six hits and one run last night, and the Braves have surrendered just three total runs over their last three games.

  • In the month of August, Atlanta’s 3.39 ERA (76 ER/202.0 IP) is fourth in the majors and second in the National League, trailing just the Dodgers (2.77), Mariners (3.22) and Blue Jays (3.38).
  • The Braves bullpen this month has compiled a 2.01 ERA (17 ER/76.0 IP), easily the lowest in baseball…The Dodgers rank second with a bullpen ERA of 2.46 in August.
  • The Atlanta staff has combined to throw seven shutouts this month, more than double any other team in the majors…The Orioles and Rangers have both pitched three to rank second.

DAY GAMES: Atlanta is set to play day games in each of the final two games of this series, and enters play 27-15 (.643) in the daylight this season…That is the best record in the National League and behind just the Orioles (31-17, .646) for the best mark in baseball.

  • Atlanta has played just 42 day games on the season, third fewest in the majors, but the Braves’ 78 homers in the daytime are most in baseball…The Rays have 77 homers in day games to rank second, but have played 57 such games on the season.
  • The Braves’ .479 slugging percentage in day games is highest in the majors.
  • Matt Olson has 20 homers and 51 RBI in 42 day games this year, both of which are the most in baseball.
  • Atlanta went 101-61 (.623) last season, the third-best record in baseball…However, the Braves played to a 24-27 (.471) record in the daytime last season to rank 19th.

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher – #54 Max Fried LHP
2023 Record: 4-1, 2.83 ERA • 2022 Record: 14-7, 2.48 ERA
vs. RHB: .271 (42-155), 3 HR • vs. LHB: .222 (6-27), 1 HR
Home: 1-1, 3.70 ERA (10/24.1) • Away: 3-0, 1.93 ERA (4/23.1)

Today’s Game

  • Set to make his second start against San Francisco this season and 10th on the year.
  • Allowed nine hits, three runs, one walk and two homers with six strikeouts against the Giants in his last start.
  • A California native, Fried owns a 1.76 ERA in seven starts when pitching in his home state.
  • Is 2-0 with a 3.74 ERA in four starts since being reinstated from the IL on 8/4.
  • Was reinstated from the 60-day injured list on August 4 and made a start against Chicago (NL) after missing 70 games, 90 days between appearances.
  • Landed on the 60-day IL on May 9 (retro May 6) with a strained left forearm.
  • Fried went 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA with 13 strikeouts in four rehabilitation appearances.
  • Made three starts with Triple-A Gwinnett and one with High-A Rome.
  • Fried picked off New York’s Harrison Bader on August 14, his second successful pick-off of the season.
  • Fried’s 25 successful pickoffs since debuting in 2017 are the most in baseball and five more than the next closest pitcher, Washington’s Patrick Corbin.
  • Corbin has attempted 434 pickoffs in that time, compared to Fried’s 172.
  • Fried has successfully nabbed a runner on 14.5 percent of his career pickoff attempts, drastically higher than the MLB average since his debut (1.7 percent)…Since 2017, 1.6 percent of MLB’s successful pick attempts have been executed by Fried.
  • Scattered eight hits and two runs over 6.0 innings pitched against New York (AL) in his last start.
  • Enters play with a career 1.89 ERA in three starts against San Francisco.
  • His 56 wins since the beginning of the 2019 season are the most in the National League, and tied most by any left-hander in baseball.
  • Only one pitcher, the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, has more wins than Fried since the start of 2019…Cole has 66 wins.
  • Additionally, the Braves have 76 wins in games started by Fried since the beginning of 2019, the most such wins by a pitcher in the National League… Only Cole and José Berríos have more, whose teams have won 87 and 79 of their starts, have more in the majors.
  • Teammate Charlie Morton’s teams also have 76 wins during that span.

2023 Recap

  • Became just the fifth pitcher since 1901 to only allow one run through March and April with at least four games started.
  • Joined Hall-of-Famer Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens, Fernando Valenzuela and Minnesota’s Pablo López as the only other pitchers to do so (since 1901).
  • Fried was placed on the 15-day injured list with a strained left hamstring on March 30 and activated from the IL on April 17.
  • Made his third career Opening Day start after he also started the opener in each of the last two seasons.
  • Fried was the first Braves lefty to make consecutive Opening Day starts since Hall-of-Famer Warren Spahn started six straight, 1957-1962.
  • Prior to Fried, the last Braves lefty to start Opening Day was Tom Glavine in 2002.


TODAY’S GAME: The Giants aim to even up this three-game series with the Braves in the second game of this series after last night’s loss. Since August 5, the Giants have lost 13-of-18 games to fall from 12 games over .500 at 61-49 to their current 66-62 mark. The Giants’ playoff odds have fallen from 76.7% on August 8 to 47.3% entering today. SF enters the day 1.0 game out of the final Wild Card spot currently held by the Chicago Cubs (67-61). The Giants remaining opponents have a combined .505 winning percentage…that .505 win % is the 13th-toughest schedule in the Majors.

THE SEA LIONS: The Giants will don San Francisco Sea Lions jerseys in honor of the Negro League team, part of the West Coast Negro Baseball League, that played in San Francisco for one season in 1946 as part of the club’s celebration of African American Heritage at the ballpark today. This is the third year in a row the Giants have worn the Sea Lions jerseys for a game here at Oracle Park.

STARTS AND STOPS: SF was limited to one run on six hits in last night’s loss to the Braves. Entering yesterday the Giants had recorded eight or more hits in each of their previous five games, their longest such streak since a season-best seven-game stretch from June 11-18. Yesterday’s one-run output also halted a five-game stretch of scoring three or more runs, their longest since another five-game stretch from July 29-August 2. SF’s offense has been slightly better as of late, slashing .274/.339/.415 over its past six games dating to August 19. In their prior eight games from August 9-18, the Giants offense slashed .200/.264/.300.

SETTLING IN?: OF Wade Meckler has reached base safely in eight of his last 12 plate appearances dating to the second game of the Philadelphia series on Tuesday (5×9, 2bb, 1hbp). Meckler went 3-for-21 with 13 strikeouts and two walks in his first seven Major League games from August 14-21.

ON YOUR LEFT…: The Giants are 20-13 this year when their opponents start a lefty but have only a +4 run differential in those games (135-131) (Sports Info Solutions). SF faced Max Fried last Sunday in Atlanta, scoring three runs on nine hits with two homers (OF Luis Matos and IF Wilmer Flores) off the lefty. The Giants are 4-1 in their last five games versus a left-handed starter dating to July 29…SF’s only loss in that span was to Texas on August 12 but they were able to chase lefty starter Andrew Heaney after 1.1 innings (3h, 2bb, 1r). Of those four wins, three have been by one run.

FILL THE VOID: With OF Michael Conforto out due to his hamstring strain, the Giants will need help from others to fill the void in the lineup. With Conforto starts this year, SF slashes .241/.317/.393 as a team and has gone 57-47 (SIS) When Conforto hasn’t started, the Giants as a team are slashing .230/.304/.367 and are 9-15 (SIS).

WALK THE LINE: RHP Ryan Walker opens for the Giants this afternoon, his 11th start of the season. The Giants are 7-3 this year when using Walker as their opener but have lost each of the last three times he’s opened. Walker has a 2.25 ERA (4er, 16.0ip) as a starter this year with a 3.13 strikeout-to-walk ratio (25 strikeouts to Eight walks). When Walker, Scott Alexander, John Brebbia (currently on the IL) or Jakob Junis have opened this year, the Giants have gone 17-11 with a team ERA in those games of 3.33.

SURE, WE’LL GET SOME SUN: Each of the Giants last two wins have come in day games (Wednesday at Philly and last Sunday in Atlanta). SF is 6-3 in its last nine day games dating to July 29 but 27-28 overall in day games. IF Thairo Estrada thrives in day games, slashing .340/.384/.541 with seven of his 10 homers this year in day games…he’s slashing .228/.280/.342 in night games this year.

FEELIN’ THE FLO: IF Wilmer Flores was kept off the bases yesterday after going 0-for-4. Flores, who’s hitting .300 on the season, could be the first Giant to lead the team in home runs, and hit over .300 since C Buster Posey did so in 2014 (Stats, LLC). Since June 1, Flores has reached base safely via a hit, walk or HBP in 47 of the 54 games he’s played during this stretch. In that span, he’s slashing .348/.416/.624 with 13 doubles, 12 homers, 30 RBI, 28 runs scored, 18 walks and 21 strikeouts. Since June 1, Flores’ 1.039 OPS is fourth-highest in MLB (min. 175 PA) behind LAA’s Shohei Ohtani (1.226), TEX’s Corey Seager (1.123) and LAD’s Mookie Betts (1.118).

FOOL ME ONCE…: IF Thairo Estrada is hitting .388 this season when facing a pitcher for the second time in a game. His average is best in MLB this season (min. 75 PA), with the next-highest AVG belonging to NYM’s Starilng Marte (.375) and MIL’s Christian Yelich (.375). Overall, Estrada is hitting .370 (17×46) with a homer, four doubles and five RBI in his last 11 games.

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