Atlanta Braves Blog

The Atlanta Braves blog by David O'Brien, baseball writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Well, Chase Freeman does have a certain ring to it....


 

PHOENIX – Freddie Freeman’s wife, Chelsea, is expecting their first baby in September, and they already found out it’s a boy. I have no reason to believe they would follow the path of Freddie’s good friend Chipper Jones, who named a son Shea. However, Chase Freeman does have a pretty good ring to it.

A lot better than, say, Citi Freeman or Citizens Freeman or, well, Coors Freeman.

More on that in a moment. And first, let me say I know that we’ve written an awful lot on Freeman lately, including, now, back-to-back blogs. However, given both the status of the team and the rather stunning surge that Freeman is on, and his resumption of career-long pillaging against Arizona pitching and particularly at Chase Field, well, indulge me.

In case you were sleeping late last night -- I understand some people do that on a regular basis -- Freeman further improved his astounding career statistics against the Diamondbacks with a three-hit, two-homer game in a 9-8 loss. Against Arizona he now has an even .400 average (50-for-125) with 25 extra-base hits (12 homers), 36 RBIs and a .446 OBP and .800 slugging percentage in 31 games. Yep, .400 average and .800 slugging percentage in 31 career games. Stunning.

The two-homer game Monday came after Freeman was held out of Sunday’s game in order to let a cortisone injection in his right middle finger take effect, an injury that’s plagued him all season but that worsened Saturday to the point where it was necessary to get the shot and reduce the inflammation.

“That was great,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said of Freeman’s return from a one-game absence, just the second start he missed all season. “Obviously it feels a lot better (having him in the lineup). So just hopefully he can stay away from any other problems and finish the year strong.”

The Diamondbacks probably wish he’d have missed a few more games.

As great as his overall career numbers are against Arizona, get a load of Freeman’s stats at Chase Field in Phoenix: 16 games, .426 (29-for-68) with eight doubles, eight homers, 23 RBIs, .459 OBP and .897 slugging percentage. In four games at Chase during the past two seasons, he’s a rather ridiculous 9-for-18 with five homers and 10 RBIs.

“I love this place. I like it more than Colorado,” Freeman said after Monday’s game, when he homered on the first pitch he saw in the first inning and hit a game-tying homer leading off the ninth. “I think it’s the batter’s eye (backdrop beyond center field); you just get in that box and you just feel good, you see everything, the lights are good.

“I don’t know, it’s just one of those things where you feel very comfortable in the box here. I don’t know what it is, hopefully you’re not jinxing me right now," he added, smiling. "Hopefully it continues.”

The only other places where Freeman has slugged at least .800 are three American League ballparks where he’s played a half-dozen or fewer games: .850 with two homers in five games at Toronto’s Rogers Centre; .1.000 with one homer in two games at Minnesota’s Target Field, 1.000 with three homers in six games at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field.

Freeman’s overall average, OBP and slugging percentage against the Diamondbacks are his career-highs against any National League team or any team, period, that he’s played more than six games against.

His 12 homers vs. the Dbacks are tied for his third-most against any team, behind only his 17 in 101 games against the Mets and 13 homers in 107 games against the Phillies.

Freeman has hit as many homers in 31 games against the Dbacks as he’s hit in 97 games against the Nationals and one more than he’s hit in 102 games against the Marlins. Besides the Dbacks, those are all NL East teams that he’s played more than three times as many games against than he’s played against Arizona.

In terms of home runs per at-bat, the only opponent team that is even remotely close in terms of Freeman doing damage against is Colorado – he has 11 homers in 39 games (148 at-bats) against the Rockies, including five homers in 75 at-bats at Coors Field. (Yes, he’s hit more against the Rockies at Turner Field than at Coors.)

And here’s the thing: The numbers continue to rise for Freeman against the Diamondbacks and at Chase Field. Usually these are the kinds of flukey numbers you see from a hitter for a season or three against a particular team or at a ballpark, and then they’ll level off for a while. (Yes, there are plenty of notable exceptions, such as Chipper Jones’s career performance at Shea Stadium).

Freeman has nine homers in his past 15 games against the Diamondbacks, and 15 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs and a .463 OBP and .873 slugging percentage in his past 17 games against them.

In seven games against the Diamondbacks over the past two seasons, Freeman has hit .414 (12-for-29) with six homers, 11 RBis and a .485 OBP and 1.069 slugging percentage.

Arizona pitchers can never like to see Freeman, but facing him right now is a particularly bad mix for the Dbacks. The man is on fire. Against everyone.

Freeman enters Tuesday night's game on an 11-game hitting streak in which he's batted .486 (17-for-35) with five doubles, seven homers, 15 RBIs, 12 walks, a .612 OBP and 1.229 slugging percentage.

In 62 games going back to June 13, he’s sizzled at .339 clip (79-for-233) with 22 doubles, five triples, 17 homers, 43 RBIs, 35 walks, .434 OBP and .695 slugging percentage. In 32 road games during that span, Freeman has 11 homers.

In his past 34 road games, he’s hit .355 (43-for-121) with 27 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs, 25 walks, a .467 OBP and .785 slugging percentage.

• Tuesday’s matchup: Braves rookie Rob Whalen (1-2, 5.73 ERA) makes his fifth major league start and faces Diamondbacks righty Archie Bradley (4-8, 5.04), who has really struggled in August.

Bradley is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA and .354 opponents’ average in four starts this month, allowing 29 hits and 10 walks with 15 strikeouts in 18 innings. He lasted fewer than five innings in three of those games, 5 1/3 innings in the other. Thursday at San Diego, Bradley gave up seven hits, five runs (four earned) and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.

Bradley is 1-4 with a 6.25 ERA in eight starts at Chase Field, allowing 10 homers and a .506 slugging percentage compared to 3-4 with a 4.07 ERA in 10 road starts with four homers and a .399 slugging percentage allowed.

After winning his first home start of the season, he’s 0-4 with a .289 opponents’ average in his past seven home starts, giving up 19 walks and nine homers in 37 1/3 innings in those games. In two home starts in August he’s been charged with 15 hits, 10 earned runs and five walks in eight total innings.

Bradley lost his only start against the Braves, a June 2015 home game when he gave up eight hits and five runs in five innings.

Jeff Francoeur has a homer in his only at-bat against Bradley, Freeman is 1-for-3 with a homer, Matt Kemp is 2-for-6 and Nick Markakis is 1-for-3.

Worth noting: Bradley has been most vulnerable in his first 15 pitches, when he’s allowed a .375 average (15-for-40) with three walks, two homers, eight walks and a .479 OBP and .600 slugging percentage.

• I'll close with this stellar tune, one finest outtakes ever recorded by the mighty Replacements, a song that was supposedly inspired by what many believe to have been the worst show the boys ever played, one that was even more of a drunken debacle than so many others were.

"PORTLAND" by The Replacements (Westerberg)

Shared a cigarette for breakfast

Shared an airplane ride for lunch

Sitting in between a ghost

And a walking bowl of punch

Can you play a little hunch?

Predicting a delay on landing

Well I predict we'll have a drink

Lost my money on the first hand

Got burned on a big fat king

And your ears are gonna ring

And your eyes just wanna close

Nothing changing I suppose

It's too late to turn back, here we go

Portland, oh no

It's too late to turn back, here we go

Portland, oh no

We'll wait away the raindrops

Look out boy, you'll catch cold

Serving boy can chain nothing

That ain't anchored to his throne

But at least he's going home

Sitting like a backwoods junkie

Caught down in a servant trust

Look at the funny monkey

Putting silver in his cup

And your silver turns to rust

And your secondhand clothes

Trust no one I suppose

It's too late to turn back, here we go

Portland, oh no

It's too late to turn back, here we go

Portland, oh no

Shared a cigarette for breakfast

Shared a pack of lies for lunch

Credit card almighty

Bringing in the next little bunch

And you owe me on a hunch

And your eyes just wanna close

And nothing changes I suppose

It's too late to turn back, here we go

Portland, oh no

It's too late to turn back, here we go

Portland, oh no


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About the Author

David O'Brien has covered the Atlanta Braves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 2002.