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Potential pitchers duel on tap when Brewers, Braves meet

Sportsnaut
May 1, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Corbin Burnes (39) delivers a pitch against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Two pitchers rising to the top of the National League will square off when the visiting Milwaukee Brewers meet the Atlanta Braves in the second game of a three-game set.

The red-hot Brewers, who have won nine of their past 10 games, prevailed 6-3 in the series opener on Friday. Milwaukee has won 18 of its past 23.

Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes (1-1, 1.93) will be matched against Atlanta’s Max Fried (3-2, 3.00) in the series that matches two teams that met in the 2021 National League Division Series.

Burnes, who led the major leagues with a 2.43 ERA a year ago, has picked up where he left off. The right-hander will be making his sixth start and leads the league with 43 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings. He had 234 strikeouts in 2022.

Burnes worked seven innings and allowed two runs with 10 strikeouts and one walk against the Chicago Cubs in a 2-0 loss on May 1. It was his third straight start with at least 10 strikeouts, allowing him to join Yovani Gallardo as the franchise’s only players to accomplish that feat.

“For the most part, we did what we wanted to do,” Burnes said. “Definitely a mistake there (on a home run to Patrick Wisdom). Other than that, it was pretty good.”

Burnes has made four career appearances, one start, against the Braves, going 1-0 with an 18.90 ERA. He received no decision in his only regular-season start against the Braves in 2021 when he allowed five runs in four innings on July 30 in a Milwaukee win.

Burnes started the first game of the NLDS against the Braves in 2021 and received no decision after pitching six scoreless innings in a game the Brewers won 2-1.

Fried will be making his sixth start of the season and has won his past three decisions. Fried has struck out 27 and walked only one this season. He has allowed only three runs in 19 innings over the past three starts.

In his outing on Monday against the New York Mets, Fried pitched six innings and allowed two runs on four hits with four strikeouts. He retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced, with the only runner coming on a bunt single, in the 5-2 win.

“I think I’m in a really good spot with my delivery,” Fried said.

Atlanta manager Brian Snitker added: “It was a really sharp outing for him. His last inning might have been his best. It’s good to see that.”

Fried is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA in three career starts against Milwaukee. He beat the Brewers in Game 2 of the NLDS by throwing six scoreless innings, striking out nine.

Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich is starting to heat up. He was 2-for-5 with an RBI on Friday and is 11-for-28 (.393) with three homers and nine RBI over the past seven games as he has raised his average from .203 to .255.

Milwaukee closer Josh Hader earned his 11th save on Friday and moved into second place on the club’s all-time list with 107, behind only Dan Plesac with 133. Hader needs two strikeouts to reach 500.

Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. is trying to return to form after missing 10 months with a knee injury. The right fielder hit his first home run — a 450-foot shot on a swing while he was falling down — on Friday but is only hitting .207 with three RBIs in seven games since his return.

–Field Level Media