Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts thinks the world of Atlanta Braves ace Max Fried.
“I think he’s the best left-hander in the game,” said Roberts post-game to David O’Brien of The Athletic about Fried. “Just where he’s at right now, nothing to take away from our guys, but as far as his ability to go three times through the lineup, the pitch mix. It’s electric stuff. I think his 105th pitch was 98. He pitches to all quadrants. And he always seems to bring out his best against us.”
Fried grew up in Greater Los Angeles idolizing Sandy Koufax. Not to say Fried will ever be as dominant as Koufax was in his illustrious prime, but this praise from Roberts certainly speaks volumes. Roberts has been future hall of famer Clayton Kershaw’s manager for years. Los Angeles has had so many elite pitchers throughout its dynastic run of the NL West during Roberts’ tenure.
It is Fried’s combination of location, speed and stuff that has him firmly entrenched as the ace pitcher on the defending World Series champions’ staff. He is just now entering his prime as well.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts speaks glowingly of Braves ace Max Fried
Atlanta and Los Angeles are only guaranteed to play one more game against each other this season, but everybody is hoping the Braves and Dodgers will meet in the postseason once more. This emerging rivalry certainly moves the needle, not just in the National League, but across all of baseball. West Coast vs. the South featuring two elite organizations does wonders for TV ratings.
As far as Fried is concerned, he has been the most consistently dominant pitcher on the Braves’ staff this season. Kyle Wright has pitched well for the most part. While Charlie Morton has had his issues in the first inning, they have not been anywhere near as bad as third time through the order Ian Anderson. Spencer Strider is only a rookie, but he has the mustache and the gas to please you.
Ultimately, pitchers are defined by what they do in big spots. Fried seems to save his best for the biggest moments. Though he may still be in his late 20s, Fried has taken upon himself to be the ace pitcher the Braves need right now, and deserve. Every fifth day when he toes the rubber, Braves Country feels great about their chances of winning. Gotta get down on Fried Day, y’all!
Look for Fried to make his first career trip to the Midsummer Classic and play for Brian Snitker.