Braves welcome back key bullpen arm amid Mets series

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The Braves took the first game of a four-game series against the Mets in Queens last night, thanks to a productive fifth inning by Atlanta, winning a rain-shortened contest 4-0.

Max Fried had five shutout innings with seven strikeouts, one walk, and three hits — nothing new for the club’s ace. And for most of the evening, the Braves’ bats were silent until the aforementioned fifth.

With two men on the corners with two outs, Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a hard liner to right, scoring former Met Kevin Pillar from third, then Matt Olson destroyed a baseball, good for a three-run homer.

The clubs will once again battle the elements this afternoon as the Braves hold a three-game lead in the division. Moreover, Atlanta will welcome back a key piece of the bullpen — Joe Jimenez.

Jimenez was acquired from the Tigers in exchange for Justyn Henry-Malloy; he’s had a productive start to his Braves career after a couple of shaky outings to begin the year.

In 8.0 innings, the lumbering righty owns a 2.25 ERA. The Braves are expecting him to be a significant contributor out of the pen this year, and it seems he’s rounding into form after dealing with a back issue this offseason. His baseball savant page gives mixed reviews:

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Relief pitching is incredibly volatile, which is why Braves fans were concerned after his first couple of outings, but he’s rounding into form and should be one of the more reliable arms for Brian Snitker to turn to down the stretch.

Photographer: John Adams/Icon Sportswire

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