The Atlanta Braves started the season off on the right foot, at least on the scoreboard, with a 7-2 win over the Washington Nationals in D.C. Thursday afternoon. Of course, a cloud hung over the win because ace Max Fried exited in the middle of the fourth inning after suffering a hamstring strain covering first base.
After the game, Braves manager Brian Snitker said Fried will miss at least one start (per the Athletic), and Fried was officially placed on the 15-day injured list Tuesday with what the team called a strained left hamstring. Righty Bryce Elder was called up to fill the roster spot. Here is Fried's injury:
Fried allowed one run on four hits with two strikeouts in his 3 1/3 innings. He was working on a fine outing even if it wasn't dominant. The rules of a win stipulate that a starter must go at least five innings, so he remains without a decision as he heads to the injured list.
This will really test the rotation depth of the Braves, too. Kyle Wright, who led the majors with 21 wins last season, started the season on the injured list and while we love Charlie Morton in these parts, he's entering his age-39 season. Along with Morton, the other healthy members of the Braves' rotation would be Spencer Strider and two rookies making their MLB debuts in Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd.
It's not all doom and gloom here. We could paint and optimistic picture if we wanted to. Watch: Morton is still plenty capable of a good season at his age. Strider looked like a frontline starter last season. Fried might not miss much time. Wright could be back before the end of April. Shuster (a former first-round pick) and Dodd (a 2021 third-round pick out of college) have big upside and the Braves should be trusted in their pitching development.
Still, Fried and Wright being hurt to start the season is far from ideal.
Fried, 29, was the Cy Young runner-up last season after going 14-7 with a 2.48 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 170 strikeouts in 185 1/3 innings.