The Colorado Rockies (23-28) have an Opening Day starter in their way tonight, but they also have a momentous starter of their own on the mound for the second game of a four-game set. The reining World Champion Atlanta Braves (25-27) remain below .500 and could fall 10 games back in the NL East this evening.
Colorado will send Chad Kuhl (3.56 ERA, 4.04 FIP) to the hill for his 10th start in a Rockies uniform. The 29-year-old right-hander last pitched against Washington in Game 2 of a Sunday doubleheader, working into the seventh and eating a huge chunk of innings as Colorado ran on bullpen fumes after Game 1.
Kuhl allowed just two runs to the Nationals in 7 1⁄3 innings and has now allowed three runs in his last two starts (a combined 10 2/3 IP). It has been a stark contrast compared to his two starts prior, where he allowed 10 earned runs in a combined 7 2⁄3 innings.
Max Fried (3.10 ERA, 2.98 FIP) has the ball for the Braves tonight in his third-career start at Coors Field. His first game in Denver was a 2 2/3-inning, three-run showing in 2017 that the Rockies eventually won 17-2; his second start was a lights-out performance in 2019 where he didn’t allow an earned run in six innings. Atlanta won that contest 7-1.
The lefty Fried is most recently riding high after a six-inning, one run performance against Miami last Sunday.
Fried works with 22nd-percentile fastball spin which isn’t always bad at elevation. It’s often harder to lift a lower-spin fastball due to a tendency to ‘drop’ more as it reaches home plate, which helps to explain Fried’s above-average ground ball percentage. His figure has sat consistently in the low 50’s throughout his career, well above the league average in the low 40’s.
Fried’s preferred weapon for strikeouts is often his curveball, and it will be interesting to see if he instead favors his changeup above sea level.
Broadcasting Note: Tonight’s game will be aired — for free! — on Apple TV+ and your preferred viewing method for Rockies games could be affected. To watch tonight’s game on any Apple device, download the ‘Apple TV’ app from the App Store.
First Pitch: 6:40 p.m. MDT
TV: Apple TV+
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM; KNRV 1150 (Spanish)