Los Angeles: Yesterday was “Taco Tuesday” at Dodger Stadium. They do it every week. The press lounge served us a variety of different tacos and other Mexican foods. There was even a live mariachi band with an amazing singer. People were singing along and you can’t imagine what that sounds like with an attendance of 51,899.
Oh, by the way, there also was a baseball game. A game that went from excitement to utter panic for the Dodger fans as they watched their boys in blue go down one-two-three for 5 innings. You see, the Braves starter lefty Max Fried was sending the Dodger hitters back to the dugout one after another with a steady mix of 93-95 mph fast balls, 87 sliders, 88 change-ups and 74 curveballs.
Fried was not overpowering with velocity but was overpowering with craftiness in his execution of both command and control on all his pitches. Changing speeds and out thinking the free swinging for the fences Dodgers.
Maybe the “LA Bums” were eating tacos between innings as they were serenaded every half inning by that mariachi band. But alas, Fried’s perfect game was broken up by a solid line-drive single to right by the number seven batter in the Dodger line-up, Hanser Alberto, San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic. It came off an 83 change-up on the second pitch as Alberto lead off the 6th inning.
After a strikeout and an inning ended double play, Fried still had only faced the minimum number of batters over 6 innings. In the 7th he struck out the side with a Trea Turner single sandwiched in-between. He would leave after the 7th having faced one batter over the minimum for 7 innings pitched. 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts with 93 pitches, 62 for strikes.
Fried didn’t throw 100 mph. He never topped 95. He showed us how to ‘pitch’ and not just throw. In San Diego this weekend I watched Fried’s fellow starters, 23 year old righty Kyle Wright and 23 year old Ian Anderson do the same thing to a baffled Padres team.
Fried pitched like a taco, giving the Dodgers a steady flow of meat, vegetables, sauces, cheese, salsa and guacamole. He slid his pitches past hitters like refried beans on a burrito. I mean, he just mixed up everything he had in his arsenal. A dominant performance by Fried has now evened up this series between these two teams who figure to be playing at the top of their divisions for most of the season.
Wednesday will bring hotdogs and burgers to the menu at Dodger Stadium and another Braves pitcher, Charlie Morton, who should give the boys in blue from LA more fits. He will face off against Tony Gonsolin at 12:10 PCT in the series finale. These teams will meet three more times in Atlanta before they probably see each other in the playoffs.
So happy Taco Tuesday Max Fried, there is one waiting for you in the clubhouse.
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