The Braves looked good today in Fort Myers, Florida, and fans had the opportunity to see a mullet-less Josh Donaldson with his new team for the first time. The game started with a pitcher’s duel between two promising young arms; Max Fried was on the mound for Atlanta, with Jose Berrios receiving the start for Minnesota.
Fried had an odd stat line, as he was able to blank the Twins in 4.2 innings pitched but walked five batters. He was in a bit of a jam in the fifth inning but luckily was able to work his way out of it with the bases loaded. It feels weird to say, but despite the walks, Fried’s stuff looks excellent as the season approaches. His offspeed pitches are Opening Day ready as he attempts to take another step forward in 2020. Brian Snitker pulled him at 75 pitches.
Berrios was fantastic to start as well, pitching an impressive first few innings, but things shortly fell apart for him after that. Peter O’ Brien took Berrios deep for his fourth homer of the Spring, best on the team, though his chances of making the roster are still slim to none. Regardless, his power tool is legit, and O’Brien can serve as quality minor league depth.
In the fifth inning, Ronald Acuna Jr. got a base knock. And after being robbed on a hard-hit ball to right field earlier in the contest, Albies made great contact once again, driving in Acuña to give the Braves a 3-0 lead. Unfortunately, it was yet another hitless outing for Marcell Ozuna behind them in the order.
As far as the bullpen is concerned, we saw another glimpse of Will Smith in his fifth outing of exhibition play, and he was perfect once again, striking out two batters and earning a hold in the 7th inning. Darren O’ Day and Josh Tomlin, whose chances of making the roster are improving by the day, took care of business as well.
The Braves had a scare in the bottom of the ninth with Patrick Weigel in the game for the close. In fairness to Weigel, who has been lights out in Spring Training, he was able to log two outs and had the third one in the bag. However, a botched play at third base extended the game, and of course, on the next play he gave up a double, and then a blooper fell between three Braves. Weigel went on to close the game with a looking strikeout, and this one can be chalked up as unfortunate luck, which should not diminish Weigel’s chances of landing on the Opening Day roster.
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