Wednesday, May 29, 2024
World Elite Syndicate

MLB Preview: Atlanta Braves (88-45) at Los Angeles Dodgers (83-50)


TONIGHT’S GAME: The Braves and Dodgers tonight continue a four-game weekend series in what is the fifth of seven scheduled meetings between the clubs this season…Atlanta lost two-of-three to Los Angeles at Truist Park, May 22-24. The Braves beat the Dodgers, 8-7, last night and the teams have split four total games this year. The Braves and Dodgers played six times last season, with Atlanta going 2-4 in these games…Los Angeles won two-of-three at both here at Dodger Stadium and at Truist Park. Atlanta has not won the season set against Los Angeles since 2013, when it went 5-2 over seven games…Since the 2014 season, the Braves are just 18-37 (.327) in 55 regular season games versus the Dodgers, and have been outscored 266-187 (-79). The Braves have not won a series at Dodger Stadium since taking two-of-three here in 2012… Atlanta is just 8-22 (.267) here since 2013…The Braves have not won a four-game series in this park since winning three-of-four in 2009. Since the 2018 season, Los Angeles (541-301, .643) and Atlanta (499-341, .594) are the two winningest teams in the N.L…Those are the best and third-best records in all of baseball in that span, respectively…The two clubs have met in three of the last five postseasons, including twice in the NLCS, with Atlanta going 8-9 in 17 playoff games against Los Angeles. LH Max Fried has made seven starts against the Dodgers in his career, compiling a 2-2 record and a 3.19 ERA (13 ER/36.2 IP)…In two turns last season, the lefty went 1-0 and allowed just two runs in 13.2 innings (1.32 ERA)…A native of Santa Monica, CA, Fried attended HarvardWestlake School for his final year of high school, located just 14 miles from Dodger Stadium. LH Julio Urías has never lost to Atlanta, going 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA (4 ER/21.0 IP) in five career games, including three starts…He has won all three of his starts versus Atlanta and saved the other two games, and the Dodgers are 5-0 when he pitches versus the Braves…The 6-foot-0, 225-pound lefthander has made 20 total starts this season, going 11-7 with a 4.41 ERA (55 ER/112.1 IP).

WIN: The Braves beat the Dodgers, 8-7, last night to win the opener of the series and improve to 6-1 on its current road trip. Atlanta scored six runs in the second inning last night, the eighth time the Braves scored at least as many in an inning this season…Only six teams have done so more often. RH Spencer Strider started for Atlanta and allowed four hits and four runs to earn his 16th win of the season…His 16 wins and 245 strikeouts are both the most in baseball. The Braves are a majors-best 44-23 (.657) on the road this season.

RONALD ACUÑA JR.: Went 3-for-4 with a walk, homer and four RBI last night, including a second-inning grand slam…He stole second base in the ninth inning, his majors-most 62nd steal of the season. His grand slam was his 30th home run of the season, and in doing so he became the first player in major league history to collect 30 homers and steal 60 bases in a single season. The previous high in homers in a 60-steal year was 28, done by Hall-of-Famer Rickey Henderson in both 1986 and 1990…The previous high in steals in a 30-homer year was 52, done by Barry Bonds in 1990. Acuña Jr.’s home run last night was also the 150th of his major league career, and the stolen base was his 169th…Per Elias, Acuña Jr. is the fastest player in history to amass 150 homers and 150 steals, doing so in his 647th game…The previous quickest was Eric Davis, who did so in 681 games. The grand slam was the fourth of his career, including the postseason, and the four have come
against just two total teams…He now has two versus the Dodgers, and two versus the Pirates. Last night was Acuña Jr’s ninth game this season with a steal and a homer, two more than any other player in baseball…Since his debut in 2018, his 23 such games are also most in the majors, four more than anyone else. Acuña Jr. also had 41 homers and 37 steals in 2019, and is the first player in history with multiple 30/30 seasons through his age-25 season, per MLB’s Sarah Langs…Just 14 players have had multiple such seasons at any point.

MINTER HOLDS: A.J. Minter allowed one run in 0.2 innings of relief last night, but maintained the lead to collect his 16th hold of the season and the 100th of his major league career. Since MLB began recording holds in 1999, Minter is just the third Atlanta reliever to collect 100 in his career…He joins Mike Remlinger (107) and Eric O’Flaherty (102). Since his debut in 2017, Minter’s 100 holds are tied for fourth most in the majors, trailing just Adam Ottavino (139), Andrew Chafin (113) and Jake Diekman (103)…Tony Watson also has 100. Over his last 35 games dating to May 27, Minter has pitched to a 1.74 ERA (6 ER/31.0 IP) with a win and three saves.

EXPANDED ROSTERS: Major League Baseball today expanded active rosters to 28 total players, and Atlanta returned LHP Dylan Lee from his rehabilitation assignment and reinstated him from the injured list, and also recalled OF Forrest Wall. Lee, 29, was 1-0 with a 3.10 ERA (7 ER/20.1 IP) in 20 games before going on the injured list with left shoulder inflammation on May 19.

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher – #54 Max Fried LHP
2023 Record: 5-1, 2.85 ERA • 2022 Record: 14-7, 2.48 ERA
vs. RHB: .268 (48-179), 4 HR • vs. LHB: .222 (6-27), 1 HR
Home: 1-1, 3.70 ERA (10/24.1) • Away: 4-0, 2.15 ERA (6/29.1)

Today’s Game

  • Set to make his first start against Los Angeles (NL) this season and 11th on the year.
  • Held San Francisco to two runs and six hits while fanning eight over 6.0 IP.
  • A California native, Fried is 6-1 with a 1.91 ERA in eight starts when pitching in his home state.
  • Owns a 2-2 record with a 3.19 ERA in seven starts against the Dodgers.
  • Is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts at Dodger Stadium.
  • Is 3-0 with a 3.58 ERA in five starts since being reinstated from the IL on 8/4.
  • His 2.85 ERA is the seventh lowest in the NL among pitchers with at least 10 starts.
  • His 3.02 FIP is the fifth lowest in the National League (min. 10 starts).
  • 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.
  • His 57 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 68 wins.
  • Additionally, the Braves have 77 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 77 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.


IRON SHARPENS IRON: The Dodgers lost for the first time on the homestand last night, but the fans were treated to a show by MVP candidates Mookie Betts and Ronald Acuña Jr. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the duo became just the third pair of starting leadoff hitters to each have a homer and four RBI in a game since 1920. The Braves drew first blood, but the homestand (3-1) continues this evening with the second contest of a four-game set on Lakers Night. Los Angeles is a Major League best 32-12 (.727) in the second half of the season and are 5.0 games behind Atlanta for the top spot in the National League. Following this four-game tilt, the Dodgers will travel to Miami on Monday and begin a three-game series with the Marlins Tuesday night at 3:40 p.m. PT. As part of their six-game road trip, the Boys in Blue will also take on the Nationals next weekend in Washington, D.C. from September 8-10. The Dodgers hold a 13.5-game lead over San Francisco in the National League West division. The Dodgers took two of three from the Braves May 22-24 at Truist Park in Georgia. Since the start of 2021, the Dodgers are 10-6 vs. Atlanta, while winning five of seven at Dodger Stadium. Tonight is Lakers Night at Dodger Stadium and those that bought their seats through a special ticket pack will receive a one-of-a-kind Kobe Bryant Dodger jersey. Natalia Bryant will throw the ceremonial first pitch and following the game, there will be a spectacular drone shone honoring the late Hall of Famer.

OHHHH SO CLOSE: The Dodgers fell behind 7-1 in the fifth inning, but powered their way back into the game, only to fall short in their comeback attempt, losing 8-7 to Atlanta. L.A. had the winning runs on base in the ninth inning, thanks to two home runs by Mookie Betts and later solo shots by Michael Busch and Max Muncy. The two home runs by Betts gave him six multi-homer games on the year and 29 in his career. Muncy’s eighth-inning homer gives him an extra-base hit in nine consecutive games, tying a franchise record alongside Jack Fournier in 1925 and John Roseboro in 1961.

ONE OF THE BEST MONTHS EVER: The Dodgers yesterday finished the month of August with a rare loss, falling 24-5 in the month. They were just the fifth team since 1969 to win 24 or more in a month, joining the 1973 Reds (24, July), the 1977 Royals (25, September), the 2002 A’s (24, August) and the 2017 Indians (25, September). The Boys in Blue started the month with a 17-3 mark, tying a franchise record for most wins in the first 20 games of the month. The Dodgers ended up with the best August in franchise history (.828), surpassing the 1953 squad and fell just short of having the best month in club history (July, 2017, .870). (min. 20 games). The Dodgers had 24 wins in August – most in L.A. Dodger history – and fell just shy of matching the franchise record for victories in one calendar month:

July, 1947 25
August, 1953 25
August, 2023 24

According to ESPN Stats&Info, the Dodgers’ .786 winning percentage (88-24) in August over the last four seasons is the best in a single month over a four-season span in MLB history (min. 80 games). The only other team in baseball to own a .750+ winning percentage in the same month four years in-a-row was the Chicago White Stockings from 1878-1881.

THE DOUBLER: Dodger first baseman Freddie Freeman went 1-for-3 with two walks last night, one game after becoming one of three players all-time to reach 25 homers and 50 doubles before the month of September. He joined Chuck Klein (1930) and Todd Helton (2000) in that exclusive club. Freeman is slashing .393/.459/.669 with 19 doubles, eight homers and 26 RBI in his last 41 games since July 17 and is third in the Majors in runs scored (111), trailing just Ronald Acuña Jr. (120) and teammate Mookie Betts (116). Freeman’s 51 doubles are a new Los Angeles Dodger record, surpassing Shawn Green’s 49 doubles in 2003. He ranks second in the Majors with 179 hits and leads the bigs with 78 extra-base hits. His .338 average ranks second in the Majors. Freeman is one double shy from tying Johnny Frederick (1929) for most in Dodger franchise history. The Major League record for doubles in a season is 67, established by Earl Webb in 1931.

SEEING YOU IN SEPTEMBER: Prior to the game, the Dodgers recalled right-handed pitcher Emmet Sheehan and selected the contract of infielder Kolten Wong. The duo will comprise the club’s two additional players for September roster expansion. Sheehan will be making his second stint with Los Angeles, after going 3-1 with a 5.63 ERA in eight games (seven starts) from June 16-Aug. 3. Wong played in 67 games with Seattle this season and is a career .256 hitter with 84 homers and 397 RBI in 1,169 games for St. Louis (2013-20), Milwaukee (2021-22) and Seattle (2023).

2023 NOTES:

  • In his last start against the Red Sox on August 26, he fired six innings, giving up eight hits, six runs, three home runs and one walk while striking out nine batters in the loss…owned a 4-1 record with a 2.90 ERA (10 ER/31.0 IP) in August
  • Over 20 starts, the southpaw owns a 11-7 record with a 4.41 ERA (55 ER/112.1 IP) with 113 strikeouts against only 22 walks…has given up 21 homers and has produced a 1.11 WHIP
  • He is 8-1 with a 2.30 ERA (16 ER/62.2 IP) and 67 strikeouts in 10 starts at home this season
  • In his start against the Rockies on April 4, he hurled six innings of shut-out baseball, tabbing his 600TH career strikeout against Kris Bryant
  • Tossed six innings on Opening Day against the Diamondbacks, giving up four hits and two earned runs while sitting down six…was his first Opening Day nod of his career


  • Will face Atlanta for the sixth time in his career (third start)…is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA (4 ER/21.0 IP)
  • Last faced the club on June 24, 2022, tossing six one-run innings, giving up three hits and two walks while striking out nine in the win
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