Freddie Freeman entered Wednesday’s game with 54 RBI, nine home runs and 127 total bases, but Atlanta’s first baseman is unlikely to make the All-Star game after getting no love from fans around the country.
ATLANTA — Atlanta fans have noticed the good work at the plate by first baseman Freddie Freeman.
So why isn’t he doing better in the All-Star balloting?
Freeman ranks fifth in the voting and is probably a longshot to be added to the roster for the game at Citi Field. But he’s had an All-Star-type season.
Freeman is batting .310 (83-for-268) with a .384 on-base percentage. Among the Braves, he ranks:
— First with 54 RBI
— Tied for fourth with nine home runs
— Second with 15 doubles
— Second with 127 total bases
Those stats would likely be higher if Freeman had not spent two weeks on the disabled list because of a strained oblique.
“He continues to swing a hot bat,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
In Tuesday’s first game of the Marlins series, Freeman went 2-for-4. He doubled and scored the first run. He hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the third run and hustled to third when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. He beat out an infield hit in the sixth and helped continue the four-run rally that was crucial to the win.
Freeman has been a clutch performer at the plate, too. He’s hitting .422 (27-for-64) with runners in scoring position.
“It’s cool to see him, especially with runners on base,” second baseman Dan Uggla said. “He’s been our horse all year. He’s really come on since he came off the DL. He’s just starting to scratch the surface of his talent level.”
Because of his success this season, Freeman is increasingly being pitched around by opposing pitchers.
Two weeks ago, the Mets paid him the ultimate compliment that he’s taking his game to the next level and becoming an elite bat in the Braves lineup by walking him six times in four games after his walk-off home run beat them in the series opener.
Freeman didn’t like it, though, and acknowledges now he got frustrated by it. Freeman went through an 0-for-16 stretch coming out of that series, including 0-for-12 in three games in Milwaukee.
“I didn’t like that because I’m a very aggressive hitter,” Freeman said. “I would see something close, and I would try to do too much with it. When there was no one on, I was trying to drive myself in, trying to hit a home run, and that’s not me obviously. I just had to get back to the basics.”
After a conversation with hitting coach Greg Walker and catching his breath an off day in Kansas City, Freeman got back to his old approach of hitting balls where they’re pitched, up the middle and the other way. He entered this week’s Marlins series on a five-game hitting streak, during which he went 6-for-17 with a double, five RBIs, and home runs in back-to-back games against Arizona.
“I relaxed and got back going up through the middle again,” Freeman said. “I’m young. I’ve got to learn and that was one of the learning points...I never realized what that was like and it happened. Now I can put that in the memory bank.”
Brian McCann heating up in the fifth spot behind him has helped Freeman’s cause. The two games Freeman homered? McCann went 4-for-7 with a home run of his own.
Freeman is looking forward to more of the same when the Braves travel to New York July 22-25.
“It’s going to be (interesting) to see what they do when we’ve got the whole lineup rested and hitting,” Freeman said. “We’ll see what happens.”