The Atlanta Braves have managed to put together a dominant season without being in any real danger from start to finish. With a week-and-a-half of fairly meaningless baseball ahead, their top goal is to be at full strength for the playoffs. That forces them to make an important decision on their top pitcher.
Max Fried is being placed on the 15-day injured list with a blister, per the team. The issue popped up during his last start against the Washington Nationals, leaving Atlanta with little choice but to take the cautious route. Darius Vines, who has a 3.27 ERA in three MLB appearances this season is being recalled in Fried's stead.
The 2022 National League Cy Young runner up missed three months of action with a forearm strain earlier in the year and will now head to the IL for the final stretch of the regular season. The organization is desperate to have their prized lefty completely healthy for the divisional round of the postseason.
Fans know how tricky blisters can be after seeing what transpired with impending superstar free agent Shohei Ohtani. The good news, though, is that Fried came back sharp after his last recovery process. This one is expected to be far less extensive and is ideally more about maintenance.
The Braves (98-55) have a three-and-a-half game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the overall NL standings. Earning home-field advantage throughout the 2023 MLB playoffs is surely a priority, but even a booming Truist Park might not be enough to compensate for the absence of the rock-solid Max Fried.
If Atlanta is enjoying a championship parade come November, this long-term move could be a huge reason why.