Braves lose starter Fried to injury but beat Nationals
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Atlanta Braves overcame the early exit of NL Cy Young Award runner-up Max Fried because of a bad leg Thursday with four hits by Travis d'Arnaud and three errors by Washington shortstop CJ Abrams during a 7-2 victory over the Nationals on a sunny, chilly opening day.
The temperature was 45 degrees at first pitch, players from both teams lost balls in the bright daylight, and there were a total of five errors.
Designated hitter d'Arnaud capped his afternoon with a two-run double in the ninth and Austin Riley walked three times — once with the bases loaded — for Atlanta, which is coming off five NL East titles in a row. Washington finished last in the division each of the past three years.
Fried allowed one run before departing with a strained left hamstring after wincing as he he ran to cover first base for the initial out of the fourth inning. Manager Brian Snitker said Fried will miss a start and probably head to the 10-day injured list.
“I'm going to make sure that I'm doing everything I can (so) when I do take that mound again, I'm ready to go,” said Fried, who finished second to Miami's Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young voting last year.
Lucas Luetge (1-0), one of five Braves relievers, was credited with the win.
Washington lefty Patrick Corbin (0-1) picked up right where he left off the past two seasons, lasting just one batter into the fourth inning and departing with a 6.00 ERA after giving up four runs, two earned. No pitcher in the big leagues had more losses in 2022 than his 19 or in 2021 than his 16.
The Braves batted around against Corbin in the second to lead 3-0 with the help of a bases-loaded walk. All but two of Atlanta's 12 hits Thursday were singles.
There was one automatic ball called for a pitch-clock violation by Braves reliever Collin McHugh in the eighth, leading to what amounted to a three-pitch walk to Jeimer Candelario — the only obvious effect of the various new rules implemented in the majors this season. All of the bullpen use resulted in a game that lasted 3 hours, 7 minutes.
“That’s not going to be the last time that happens,” Snitker said about the call on McHugh.
E-6, E-6, E-6
Abrams, who arrived last season in the trade that sent Juan Soto to the Padres, was charged with one fielding error and two throwing errors.
“There’s no excuses,” Abrams said. "I got to be better.”
Manager Dave Martinez called the repeated miscues “kind of disappointing,” but added: "These are going to be some of the growing pains we have. They’re teaching moments. We’re going to teach them and we’re going to get them to understand.” ARCIA'S DEAL
The Braves agreed to terms with starting SS Orlando Arcia on a three-year deal. A person with knowledge of the contract told The Associated Press it’s worth $6.3 million for two years, with a $2 million club option or a $1 million buyout for 2026. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because terms of the deal were not announced.
Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg was put on the 60-day injured list Thursday as he recovers from an operation for thoracic outlet syndrome. General manager Mike Rizzo said the 2019 World Series MVP is simply resting at this point. “He’s not doing anything, baseball-wise. I met with him yesterday. We had a good discussion. He’s not going to be here today. He felt that he didn't want to distract from the opening day festivities," Rizzo said. It is not clear when, or even whether, Strasburg might pitch again in the majors.
The series resumes Saturday with Braves RHP Spencer Strider facing Nationals RHP Josiah Gray.