Braves auditioning No. 2 starter against Mets

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Staff ace Max Fried returned to the mound in good health and in a successful fashion Friday night. Next, the Atlanta Braves will get another look at promising rookie Ian Anderson, who could be their No. 2 starter in the postseason.

After Friday night, the New York Mets are merely hoping the “2” in their 1-2 pitching punch isn’t an infielder.

The Braves will look to clinch a series win and move closer to locking up a playoff berth when they visit the Mets in the middle game of a three-game set on Saturday. The right-handed Anderson (3-0, 1.64 ERA) is scheduled to oppose left-hander David Peterson (4-2, 4.17) in a battle of rookies.

The Braves cruised to a 15-2 win Friday night, when Ozzie Albies hit two of Atlanta’s six homers and Fried earned the victory by allowing one run over five innings one day after being activated from the 10-day injured list. Fried hadn’t pitched since Sept. 5, when he suffered a back injury while facing the Washington Nationals.

“It was a good night,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Getting Max back, I think it made everybody feel good to see him back out on the mound.”

Fried started Friday so he could be available to throw the playoff opener on Sept. 29. The National League East-leading Braves (30-21) are three games ahead of the Miami Marlins in the division, and 4 1/2 games ahead of the San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals, who are tied for the two wild-card spots.

Anderson, who allowed one hit over seven scoreless innings and earned the win over the Nationals in his most recent start on Sept. 12, would likely slot in for a Game 2 start in a playoff series. The start against Washington marked the second time Anderson has allowed just one hit. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his debut against the New York Yankees on Aug. 26.

The Mets (23-28) have neither the luxury of planning for the playoffs nor a No. 2 starter to slot in behind ace Jacob deGrom if they get there. New York fell 2 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot with Friday’s loss, and its non-deGrom starters have a 6.15 ERA after Steven Matz gave up six runs over 2 2/3 innings.

On Friday, the only good pitching news for the Mets came in the ninth inning, when infielder Todd Frazier made his professional pitching debut and threw a perfect frame while “mixing” knuckleballs with a fastball that didn’t reach 70 mph.

“I thank him for going out there and doing that — we were searching for the possibility of having a guy that could do it,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “Glad he did it. Nothing bad happened, he was able to get that 1-2-3.”

Frazier is the second Mets position player to throw a perfect inning this season, Luis Guillorme having done it against the Nationals on Aug. 10.

Anderson has never faced the Mets. Peterson took the defeat in his lone appearance against the Braves on Aug. 2, when he allowed three runs over six innings in a 4-0 loss.

–Field Level Media

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