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Ronald Acu , Jr. and Tyler Flowers backed the effort with

Kevin Gausman was excellent in his 2019 debut , shutting down the Marlins over seven shutout innings. a pair of early homers."After shoulder soreness shut him down early on this spring, the prospect of Kevin Gausman making a dominant start in early April seemed far-fetched. And yet, on Friday night Gausman was completely dialed in, firing seven shutout innings to give the Braves bullpen a light workload. Those seven innings were the deepest any Atlanta starter has lasted this season, and helped the Braves to their fourth consecutive victory.The Braves were largely quiet at the plate the first trip through the order against Marlins starter Pablo Lopez, but the second round bore fruit for the Atlanta offense. After a leadoff single by Freddie Freeman in the fourth inning, Ronald Acu帽a, Jr. lined an opposite field two-run homer into the Chop House to give the Braves 2-0 lead. After the next two batters were retired in order, Tyler Flowers added a solo homer down the left field line to push the Atlanta lead to 3-0. Dansby Swanson followed with a walk, then consecutive two-out singles by Gausman and Ender Inciarte plated another run, giving Gausman a 4-0 advantage.The Marlins did very little to challenge Gausman, especially after the Braves jumped out to a 4-0 lead. The right-hander retired 13 consecutive batters at one point, with a Brian Anderson leadoff single in the seventh breaking that streak. Neil Walker would follow with a lineout before Gausman induced a ground ball from Starlin Castro, which was fielded by Ozzie Albies near the second base bag and quickly fired to first to extinguish the Miami threat. Gausman would be pulled after the seventh, having struck out seven batters while allowing just two hits and two walks. With only 88 pitches, Gausman would likely have been granted another inning if not for the proximity to his shoulder ailments.Gausman was relieved by Jesse Biddle in the eighth, who worked a perfect inning, striking out one. In the ninth, Arodys Vizcaino ran into trouble as he walked the leadoff batter before a Martin Prado doubled to put runners at second and third with no outs. The right-hander would then strike out Curtis Granderson and Brian Anderson before walking Neil Walker to bring the tying run to the plate. With a 1-0 count, Vizcaino threw a slider to Starlin Castro, who chased Acu帽a to the base of the left field wall, narrowly missing a game-tying homer. The ninth was anything but pretty, but Vizcaino once again slammed the door to preserve a Braves win. The Braves will take on the Marlins once again on Saturday, with Kyle Wright making his second career start, as they look to win the fifth straight. Sandy Alcantara draws the start for the Marlins. Fried flipped his script and took everyone on a thrilling ride."WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Talking Chop User’s GuideTalking Chop PodcastAround the NL EastBaseball Analysis PrimerMax Fried found the zoneNew,32commentsFried flipped his script and took everyone on a thrilling ride.EDTShareTweetShareShareMax Fried found the zoneDale Zanine-USA TODAY SportsMax Fried has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. Not in the way that essentially all prospects, and essentially pitching prospects, are mysteries, but in a manner far more specific. Lots of people really like Max Fried (as a baseball player, not as a person, I’m sure he’s an awesome person but that’s not something most folks are qualified to comment on...). Not that many people liked Mauricio Cabrera. Yet, what if I told you that Mauricio Cabrera’s career major league walk rate was... 11.7%... and Max Fried’s career major league walk rate was... 11.8%. No, don’t call me a liar, it’s true. You can look it up for yourself. I have this theory that Sean Newcomb’s performance tends to be underrated because his lack of command the resulting bases on balls make him somewhat agonizing to watch pitch, despite average results. Yet, for someone with pretty much the same major league walk rate as Newcomb Boog Powell Jersey , with a bevy of outings coming in relief (which is supposed to rein in walk rate, to some extent), Fried doesn’t seem to evoke the same visceral response.For that reason — namely, command and an inability to limit free passes — I’ve been somewhat wary of the potential for Fried’s success. I was incredibly miffed when, a few days ago, Max Fried entered a tie game, walked Bryce Harper, and then walked Rhys Hoskins to force in the go-ahead run, but I wasn’t shocked. But the thing about that is... well, you know what happened last night. It’s the next morning, and, well, color me shocked.Looking back on it, I’m not sure whether it was even the best outing of Fried’s young career: his domination of the Cardinals last year (six and two-thirds, four hits, three walks, eleven strikeouts, zero fly balls) still looms large. You can take your pick between the two outings, I think — maybe you like 17 straight batters retired with one hit, zero walks, and five strikeouts better. It’s fine if you do. The stats are split: 30 vs. 33 FIP-, 75 vs. 77 Game Score (v2), 29 vs. 45 xFIP-, .244 vs. .140 xwOBA-allowed. There’s not really a wrong answer here.The main question then: how did this happen? This wasn’t a fluke fueled by at-’em balls and good defense: so far this year, only two starts (Carlos Rodon, Blake Snell) have managed a lower xwOBA in a game; only Rodon and Luis Castillo have managed a start with more than 10 balls in play with weaker quality of contact than what Fried elicited last night. You don’t need to dig too far for the answer, as I put it in the title: Max Fried found the zone.The rate of pitches in the zone has evolved in recent history, in a phenomenon that one may wish to describe as Manfred’s Bane. In 2002, over 54 percent of pitches were within the strike zone’s confines. This figure then eroded to 52ish percent over the next half-decade, dropped to just over 50 percent in 2008, and then dipped under the halfway mark the following year (48.7 percent). It then fell further still, to around 45 percent for each year in the 2011-2017 window, before ratcheting itself downward one more step last year, where it rested at 43.0 percent. Max Fried’s zone rate has itself been on the lower side of this average. Of the 488 pitchers with 60 or more innings since the start of 2017, Fried’s 41.9 percent mark ranked 112th, putting him in the bottom fourth. Note the use of the past tense. With one start, pushed that mark up to 42.9 percent Giancarlo Stanton Jersey , enough to jump from the bottom fourth to the 33rd percentile. Graphically, the difference is perhaps more dramatic.As a starter, Max Fried has never quite held the zone like he did last night. Even as a reliever, he’s done it all of once. That other blue dot that’s well above league average was the epic Charlie Culberson two-run walkoff homer game against the Mets, in which Fried faced deGrom. That outing was really odd for a number of reasons, and a table will summarize things better than me yammering.Compare the first and third rows. Sure, Max Fried has had a start (one) where he found the zone before. But he has not had a start where he found the zone. That May 28, 2018 start was legitimately insane: he threw nearly half of his pitches in the zone, yet still issued four walks across 22 batters. Mets hitters literally made contact zero times against his pitches outside the zone, but he still issuedissued a bunch of free passes.

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