It will be a rematch of last year’s NLCS, when the Dodgers ousted the Braves with a Game 7 victory. Los Angeles won 106 games this season to capture an NL wild-card spot.
The Dodgers were traveling Friday and haven’t yet announced pitching plans for the series. They are scheduled to work out at Truist Park later Friday evening.
It was anticipated that Atlanta manager Brian Snitker would tab Fried for the Game 1 assignment after Charlie Morton, who started Game 1 of Atlanta’s division series against the Brewers, threw 3 1/3 innings during the closeout win over Milwaukee on Tuesday.
“You got to realize that the game is the same out there,” Fried said. “Obviously the intensity and the pressure might be a little bit more, but it’s still baseball. So you just got to go out there, stay within yourself, not give in to the situation and just make pitches.”
Turning to Fried is a pretty nice fallback option for Snitker. He is, after all, baseball’s hottest pitcher at the moment. Snitker, however, would have been content with any of his big three starters — Fried, Morton or Ian Anderson — after last year’s postseason, when the Braves were left short by injuries to their pitching staff.
“I feel really good about all three of the guys that we’re going to be featuring,” Snitker said. “But it’s a significant difference than a year ago when we started this tournament.”
Fried led the majors with a 1.74 ERA after the All-Star break, going 8-2 with 13 quality starts in 14 outings. He continued his dominance against Milwaukee in the last round, throwing six shutout innings with nine strikeouts while earning the decision in Atlanta’s Game 2 win.
When Fried takes the mound Saturday, he’ll be facing the team he grew up rooting for while in Southern California. Fried has faced the Dodgers 11 times over his career, including seven starts, going 1-3 with a 3.79 ERA.
“It’s definitely kind of nostalgic of just being able to look back, and it’s obviously a team I was rooting for growing up,” Fried said. “But at this point in my career I’m pretty settled in with the Braves.”
Fried started twice against the Dodgers in last season’s NLCS. He earned a no decision while allowing one run over six innings in a Game 1 victory, but allowed three runs over 6 2/3 innings in a Game 6 loss.
Snitker said he’d likely announce his starter for Game 2 later Friday. Morton would be working on normal rest if he were to get the call.
“I feel really good about where Max is in the season, where Charlie is and what he’s done throughout his career,” Snitker said. “I think it’s a really good feeling to know we have two guys like that that we could choose.”
Death of Tampa Bay Rays bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez ruled a suicide
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The death of Tampa Bay Rays bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez near his home in Fort Worth, Texas, has been ruled a suicide.
The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office released the finding on Thursday, three days after the 28-year-old’s body was found.
The Ramirez family released a statement through the Rays, thanking the team for its support.
“The loss of our son has been the most excruciating experience we have lived. Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t see the signs. Struggling in silence is not ok,” the family said in the statement.
“It is our commitment to honor our son’s life by helping other families,” the family added. “No parent should have to endure the loss of their child.”
The Rays announced the death in a Twitter post last Tuesday but did not release details. The Tampa Bay Times reported the body was found Monday in a field near the family home.
Ramirez, a native of Puerto Rico who attended high school in Fort Worth, was a 28th-round draft pick out of Illinois State in 2016. He played three years in Tampa Bay’s minor league system before beginning a three-season stint as a bullpen catcher with the major league team in 2019.
“We are very grateful to the Tampa Bay Rays organization, whom we consider our family, for their love and support,” the family said. “Our son felt loved by all of you.”
Manager Kevin Cash paid tribute to Ramirez in a statement released by the Rays on Tuesday.
“He brought so much passion and energy each day to our clubhouse and bullpen, and his love for the Rays and baseball was evident to all who interacted with him,” Cash said.
Brad Ausmus joins Oakland A’s as bench coach for first-time manager Mark Kotsay
Brad Ausmus, the former manager of the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels, has been hired as bench coach for the Oakland Athletics, providing some much-needed experience to the coaching staff of rookie manager Mark Kotsay.
The A’s finalized Kotsay’s coaching staff on Friday, also announcing the promotion of Tommy Everidge to major league hitting coach and the hiring of Chris Cron as an assistant hitting coach.
Ausmus, 52, managed the Tigers from 2014 to 2017, winning the American League Central at the beginning of that four-year stretch and finishing with a 314-332 regular-season record. The longtime major league catcher then went 72-90 in his only season as the Angels’ manager in 2019, a year tarnished by the sudden death of young pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Everidge, 38, has spent the last eight years as a hitting coach in the A’s farm system and was originally drafted by the team in 2004. Cron, the father of Colorado Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron, spent the last eight years in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ minor league system, most recently as the organization’s field coordinator and has compiled two decades’ worth of managing experience in the minor leagues.
The hirings prompted Darren Bush to move from hitting coach to third-base coach and Eric Martins to move from assistant hitting coach to first-base coach. Mike Aldrete will transition from first-base coach to quality control coach. Kotsay, 46, spent the last six years on the A’s coaching staff and was hired over the offseason to replace Bob Melvin as the team’s manager. The A’s allowed Melvin to opt out of the final year of his contract to join the San Diego Padres.
Buster Olney’s Top 10s for 2022
A lot of the credit for the Atlanta Braves’ postseason surge was rightly attributed to the midseason deals made by general manager Alex Anthopoulos, because without Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall and Joc Pederson, Atlanta would not have hosted a championship parade.
But what may have been lost in that narrative was just how much organizational bedrock continued to develop underneath those additions. Austin Riley, just 24 years old, became one of the National League’s best players. Max Fried, who turns 28 next week, posted a 1.74 ERA in his last 14 regular-season starts. Ian Anderson, just 23, now has a full season of experience. The talented Kyle Wright, 26, may have reached a crossroads in his development during the postseason, with moments on which he can build confidence. Dansby Swanson had 62 extra-base hits last season and has developed into one of the sport’s most consistent defenders. Ozzie Albies is a multitalented star. And Ronald Acuña Jr. was the front-runner for NL MVP at the time he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
As the National League Championship Series began in October, the Braves were considered something of a long shot against the Los Angeles Dodgers — and similarly, they were betting underdogs against the Houston Astros in the World Series. So underestimate them now at your own peril.
The Braves’ ownership still needs to open its fattened coffers and pay Freddie Freeman. If that happens, Atlanta may actually have a better team in 2022 than that group honored in the championship parade, and have a legit shot at becoming the first team since the 1998-2000 Yankees to win back-to-back titles.
Early in 2022, with a lot of players unsigned and many more trades to come after the next labor agreement is forged, here are MLB’s top 10 teams:
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