On the opening day of the 2023 Major League Baseball regular season, the top pitchers on two teams expected to contend for a National League East Division title are going on the injury list. Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried of Santa Monica, California injured his hamstring while covering first base on a groundout in the fourth inning in the Braves’s opening day 7-2 win against the Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, the New York Mets announced that their All-Star starting pitcher Justin Verlander of Manakin, Georgia, who is making a whopping $43.3 million in 2023, has a strained shoulder.
Nature of the Injuries
At first glance, you would think that Fried’s injury is less serious than Verlander’s injury. There are always significant concerns when pitchers are dealing with injuries to their elbow or shoulder area. However, one must realize that Fried’s Braves teammate Mike Soroka of Calgary, Alberta, Canada has not pitched since the 2020 Major League Baseball regular season when he tore his Achilles tendon covering first base on a defensive play in a Braves’s game against the New York Mets.
Max Fried in 2022
This past season with the Braves, Fried had a record of 14 wins and seven losses with an earned run average of 2.48. In 30 games and 185 1/3 innings, he gave up 156 hits, 51 earned runs, and 32 walks, to go along with 170 strikeouts and and a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 1.01. Fried was not only an All-Star in 2022, but won the National League Gold Glove Award at the pitcher position too.
Justin Verlander in 2022
There was a great excitement in the Mets’s organization prior to the start of the season as the Mets not only had Verlander, but Max Scherzer too. Last season Verlander won a World Series, and was an All-Star for the ninth time in his career while with the Houston Astros. He had a record of 18 wins and four losses with a gaudy earned run average of 1.75. During 28 games and 175 innings pitched, Verlander gave up 116 hits, 34 earned runs, and 29 walks, to go along with 185 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.83.