Braves spring training: Fried and Strider give up zero runs in Braves split team sweep

Both Max Fried and Spencer Strider had a productive day on the mound in their respective outings. The top two pitchers in Atlanta’s rotation each went three scoreless innings as the Braves found themselves on the winning side in both of their spring training games today.

In addition to both Fried and Strider continuing to ramp up for the regular season, the bats came out to play for both teams today. The first inning at both venues was particularly fruitful, as three Braves batters hit homers during the first frame. After a single by Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Olson smashed one over the fence in right-center at CoolToday Park in North Port to get the Braves on the board. This was immediately followed by Austin Riley, who hit his first spring training without a doubt to center field as well.

Around the same time this was going on, Michael Harris II joined in on the fun by hitting his first homer in spring training. This one came on the first pitch he saw, and it was a laser beam over the right field fence. Needless to say, it was a pretty exciting sequence of events for Braves fans — especially if you were watching both games at the same time.

Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Olson and Austin Riley were not done with their hits in the first inning. Olson got his second hit with a leadoff single in the third inning, Riley got his second RBI of the game in the fourth inning, and then Acuña had his second hit of the day with an RBI single in the sixth. Sean Murphy also found his way into the RBI column after he found a hole in the infield with a grounder of his own.

Meanwhile in Sarasota, Eddie Rosario also had an RBI single, while Travis d’Arnaud also picked up a hit of his own. If you count at home, that’s seven Braves hitters today, and when you consider that Vaughn Grissom reached base on a walk, that’s eight Braves regulars that got on base this afternoon. This is exactly the kind of production you want to see, and we hope it’s a regular occurrence when the regular season starts.

On the pitching side, both starters got the job done in scoreless fashion. Max Fried’s three innings may have included him giving up one hit, two walks and a hit batter, but he also had five strikeouts along the way. The first two innings were where the Twins gave Fried some trouble, but that disappeared when the third inning rolled around. Fried retired Minnesota in 1-2-3 fashion to end the day without a run, which is all you can ask for at this point in the spring.

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Over in Sarasota against Baltimore, Spencer Strider’s performance was a bit more symmetrical in that he gave up a hit in each inning while on the mound. In fact, two of those runners were in scoring position in the second and third innings, respectively. Still, that didn’t deter Strider from keeping the Orioles off the board with just one run allowed while pitching. Neither Fried nor Strider were perfect, but you don’t need to be perfect at this point in the spring – you just need to get the job done in preparation for the long road ahead, and both guys got their jobs done with their efforts today.

Most of the guys who figure to play a big role in Atlanta’s bullpen for this upcoming season were in North Port, and things went pretty smoothly for those guys as well. Raisel Iglesias came in after Max Fried finished and pitched a scoreless inning with just one run given up. Joe Jiménez followed him, giving up a hit and getting a strikeout as he kept the Twins off the scoreboard in his one inning. Jesse Chavez came in after that, and if you blinked, you missed the journeyman reliever striking out two batters during his clean inning. Like what Max Fried and Spencer Strider did in the past, this was exactly what you wanted to see from these guys in particular.

In terms of the results for each game, the Braves found themselves on the winning side of both contests. The Braves were up 3-0 after two innings in Sarasota and managed to get those three runs to last in a 3-2 victory over the Orioles. The North Port game appeared to be a blowout as the Braves led 7-0 after the first seven innings. The bottom nearly fell out for Atlanta in the eighth inning, when the Twins plated five runs and the Braves suddenly faced the possibility of following up an eight-run collapse with a seven-run collapse. Fortunately, Atlanta held on to a two-run lead in the ninth to make it a 7-5 victory and a perfect day for the squad as a whole.

This was a really solid day for the players who are widely expected to be regulars for the Braves at the major league level here in 2023. It was a real treat to be able to watch both Max Fried and Spencer Strider pitch on the same day and it was especially nice to see the home run binge that went on at both ballparks for the Braves. Things are looking good at the moment, and let’s hope it continues to look that way as the regular season quickly approaches.

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