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Max Fried labors in Braves 8-7 loss to Twins

In his first outing since being named the Braves Opening Day starter (and his second during spring camp), lefty Max Fried took his lumps against the Twins on Friday, allowing six runs (five earned) from seven hits in four innings of work. The staff leader struck out three and walked one, but Minnesota’s offense simply had it going today as the Twins lineup wound up combining to slug four homers in the contest, including two for Byron Buxton. 

There’s no need for concern, though. Fried is obviously still preparing for the regular season, and two brief outings in spring training certainly aren’t enough to analyze. But Friday’s four-inning start could be Fried’s last exhibition outing before next Thursday’s season opener at Truist Park versus the Reds. He’ll be fine.

While the Twins lineup did some damage against the Braves pitchers on Friday, Atlanta’s offense did its share of hitting as well. Both Travis d’Arnaud and Alex Dickerson each homered in the Braves loss, while Dansby Swanson put together a 2 for 3 performance on the day.

Overall, both the Braves and Twins each totaled 10 hits as a team, though Atlanta’s 2 for 9 conversion rate with runners in scoring position surely hurt its chances of winning. The dinger from Dickerson on Friday was surely needed, for the 31-year-old was just 2 for 13 (.153 AVG) this spring entering today’s matchup. His place on the roster – as a fourth outfielder – is probably safe, but it’s nice to see him making some solid contact as we get closer to the regular season.

The Braves nearly came back in this one. Down 8-4 in the eighth inning, Pat Valaiki slugged a two-out, three-run home run to put Atlanta within one. However, a fly-out by Jefrey Ramos ended the rally as quickly as it started. 

Atlanta will continue its spring training slate tomorrow with a 12:05 PM (CT) game versus the Yankees in Tampa, FL. The Braves will give the ball to prospect Spencer Strider, while New York will go with Luis Severino. Saturday’s game isn’t scheduled to be on Bally Sports, although perhaps it’ll be available on YES Network through MLB.tv.

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