Atlanta Braves left-hander Max Fried left his Opening Day start against the Philadelphia Phillies early with a hamstring issue, likely to land him on the injured list. The injury is a significant setback for the Braves, who were counting on Fried as one of their top pitchers this season.
Fried’s Early Exit
Fried was cruising through the first inning of the game, striking out two batters and allowing only one hit. However, he appeared to tweak his hamstring while delivering a pitch to the leadoff batter in the second inning.
After consulting with the Braves’ training staff, Fried left the game, and the team announced that he had a hamstring injury. Fried was replaced by Sean Newcomb, who struggled in relief, giving up five runs in two innings.
Hamstring Injury Details
The Braves have not yet released any specific details about the severity of Fried’s hamstring injury, but he will miss some significant time. Manager Brian Snitker stated after the game that Fried is likely headed to the injured list.
Hamstring injuries can be tricky for pitchers, who rely heavily on their lower bodies to generate power and control. Depending on the severity of Fried’s injury, he could be out for several weeks or months.
Impact on Brave’s Pitching Rotation
Fried’s injury is a significant blow to the Braves pitching rotation, which was already dealing with some uncertainty heading into the season. The team lost veteran starter Charlie Morton to free agency and has been relying on a mix of young arms and journeymen to fill out the rotation.
Fried was expected to be one of the team’s top starters this season, coming off a strong 2020 campaign in which he posted a 7-0 record with a 2.25 ERA. Losing Fried for an extended period will force the Braves to rely even more heavily on their young pitchers, including Kyle Wright and Bryce Wilson.
Fried’s Previous Injury History
Unfortunately, Fried’s hamstring injury is not the first setback in his career. He missed significant time in 2018 with a blister issue, and in 2019, he dealt with a back injury that forced him to miss several starts.
While Fried has been relatively healthy since then, his injury history is a concern for the Braves, especially given the importance of starting pitching to their success. The team hopes he can recover quickly and return to form as soon as possible.
In the meantime, the Braves will need to rely on their depth to fill the void left by Fried’s injury. Newcomb, who struggled in relief of Fried on Opening Day, is one option, as is veteran left-hander Drew Smyly, who signed with the team in the offseason.
Overall, Fried’s injury is a significant setback for the Braves, who were counting on him as a cornerstone of their pitching staff this season. However, the team has shown in the past that they can overcome injuries and adversity, and they hope to do so again as they navigate the challenges of the 2021 season.