The Braves gave first baseman Freddie Freeman a day off Thursday in the series finale at Washington. Austin Riley started at first base, with Ehire Adrianza filling the hole at third base. Freeman will be available to pinch-hit.
Perhaps the breather will do Freeman some good. Since his four-hit day April 28, Freeman has scuffled. He’s 1-for-24 across his past six contests, striking out eight times with two intentional walks. He’s also hit into three double plays in those 24 at-bats.
“Just during the game yesterday, I was like, ‘This is going to be a good day to do this (Thursday),” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s grinding through like we all are. We’ve had some off-days, but every now and then I think it’s good for a guy to sit and watch the game a little bit. Wake up on a game-day morning, have his coffee and relax a little bit. ... It’s OK if you need a day off. It’s all right. You’re human.
“Freddie cares. He set the bar high for himself, also. He’ll be fine.”
This has been an uncharacteristic season for Freeman, the reigning National League MVP who’s scheduled to become a free agent this winter. He owns a .202/.336/.422 slash line, with seven homers, 18 RBIs and 16 runs scored.
There have been highs – such as his 4-for-5 showing against the Cubs – but the consistency the Braves have come so accustomed to see in the four-time All-Star’s career has been lacking. Freeman has gone hitless in 14 of his 30 games. He has only four multi-hit performances.
Certainly, Freeman is the last player the Braves will worry about. It’s a small sample, and Freeman started slowly last season before going on an MVP-earning tear. He’ll get Thursday to rest and rejoin the lineup when the Braves begin their homestand – which will feature 100% capacity at Truist Park – on Friday.
The Braves entered Thursday at 14-16, trying to complete their first sweep of a divisional opponent this season after taking the first of two of three games against the Nationals.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com