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Max Fried becomes the first left-handed Opening Day starter for the Atlanta Braves since Tom Glavine way back in 2002.
For the first time in a generation, a left-hander will toe the rubber on MLB Opening Day in Atlanta Braves uniform. 27-year-old southpaw Max Fried will make his first career Opening Day start next week.
Fried has been an excellent pitcher for the Braves the last three years but was truly a godsend a season ago after 2019’s ace Mike Soroka ruptured his Achilles tendon. He carried a lackluster Braves rotation until rookie Ian Anderson was called up in September. Fried served as the Braves’ postseason ace all the way up to Game 7 of the 2020 NLCS against the dreaded Los Angeles Dodgers.
Because Soroka is still on the mend, Fried was the easy choice for skipper Brian Snitker to make as his Opening Day starter. Atlanta’s rotation is expected to be Fried, Charlie Morton, Anderson, Drew Smyly and Bryse Wilson to start the season. The best part for Fried is the company he joins. The last lefty to start on Opening Day for Atlanta was Braves icon Tom Glavine.
Max Fried will always draw Tom Glavine comparisons in Atlanta Braves uniform
Not since the big three’s heyday from 1993 to 2002 has the Braves’ rotation had this much promise. To say Soroka, Fried and Anderson will become their generation’s equivalent of Greg Maddux, Glavine and John Smoltz is borderline unrealistic pressure for Atlanta’s 20-something starters. However, we have seen enough out of this young trio to know that it can be special.
Not only does Fried join rare company in Atlanta with the likes of Glavine, but two of his high school teammates at Harvard Westlake are also Opening Day starters this year. Jack Flaherty is the ace of the St. Louis Cardinals, while Lucas Giolito is the No. 1 starter with the Chicago White Sox. To think all three of those pitchers all played ball at the same high school together is unreal.
Fried has earned the right to be the Braves’ Opening Day starter ahead of their 2021 MLB season.