Max Fried, Braves shoot for sweep of Cardinals

Atlanta ace Max Fried will put an eight-game winning streak on the line Wednesday when the Braves host the St. Louis Cardinals in the third game of a four-game series.

Fried (8-2, 2.66 ERA) will be matched against St. Louis right-hander Miles Mikolas (5-6, 2.61). The Braves have won the first two games of the series and six of their past eight overall.

Fried worked seven strong innings in his most recent start, a win against Cincinnati on Friday. He gave up one run on five hits and struck out four. Fried has allowed a combined four runs across 20 2/3 innings over his past three starts for a 1.74 ERA.

“Just kind of embracing who I am as a pitcher,” Fried said. “Just trying to mix speeds and get soft contact and not always chase a strikeout.”

Fried is 3-0 with a 0.44 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against St. Louis. He last beat the Cardinals 6-1 on Aug. 3, 2021, by throwing six scoreless innings.

The Cardinals, who have lost three straight and five of their last six, feel confident with Mikolas on the mound.

“He’s been a horse for us,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “Threw some really good gems.”

Mikolas took a loss against Philadelphia on Friday when he allowed four runs (two earned) in 5 1/3 innings.

Mikolas will make his fifth career appearance (fourth start) against the Braves and his first since 2019. He is 1-2 with a 2.61 ERA against the Braves.

The Cardinals made a lineup change on Tuesday when they dropped Tommy Edman from leadoff into the No. 7 spot in the order. Edman was stationed at the top of the order most of the season but was dropped after suffering through a slump that saw his average fall to .263. He went 0-for-4.

Rookie Brendan Donovan was moved to leadoff and went 1-for-5.

“At the end of the day, we have a pretty good idea when Edman’s body is moving the right way to give him the spray that we need and overall line drives, and right now we’re seeing too many pull-side ground balls,” Marmol said. “He knows what he needs to do to get back to where he needs to be physically. Until that happens, we’ll switch the lineups up and get some matchups at the top.”

St. Louis first baseman Paul Goldschmidt continues to look for his 300th career homer. He has not hit a home run since June 27 against the Miami Marlins. Goldschmidt scored a run Tuesday to reach 1,000 for his career.

The Braves got left-hander Tyler Matzek back on Monday and he pitched a scoreless inning on Tuesday. Matzek missed 46 games with left shoulder inflammation. He had a 2.57 ERA in 69 games last season.

“It’s always got to be tough for guys when they have a long layoff, so it was good that he started and finished it and didn’t need any help,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That’s big for a guy like that.”

Atlanta left fielder Adam Duvall has been out since being hit in the hand in Saturday’s game. He returned as a defensive sub on Tuesday. Snitker said Duvall could have hit if needed.

–Field Level Media