Freddie Freeman, Braves not concerned after sweep

In the face of chaos, Freddie Freeman is often the calming presence.

The Braves were slapped around in their opening series, a three-game dismantling in Philadelphia. Pitching worries ballooned, doubts mounted and criticism of the team's quiet offseason escalated to new levels.

Yet it’s a very, very small fraction of a 162-game gauntlet.

“It’s three games,” Freeman said. “There’s no reason to panic. They played really good baseball. We have to get our walks under control. We need to hit a little bit better. We just need to pull everything together.”

The Braves’ first baseman was among the few who had a productive series. He’s hitting .600 (6-for-10) with a .692 on-base percentage. Four of his hits came Saturday.

He won’t be able to carry the team by himself. After scoring 10 runs across the first two games, the Braves were held to one in the finale. Their positive offensive efforts were overshadowed by the disastrous pitching.

Braves skeptics quickly point to the pitching. Despite the allotment of talented youngsters, the Braves haven’t been healthy and much of their pitching is unproven. All those concerns came to light in Philadelphia.

“If this happens in July nobody would be talking about it,” Freeman said, echoing his manager. And there’s truth in that: Midseason swoons aren’t under the microscope of opening festivities.

Now the Braves come home to host the Cubs. Chicago, which lost two of three to Texas and exhibited its own pitching woes, will bring its usual traveling audience to invade the home-opening series.

The Braves went 43-38 at home in 2018. They’ll likely require a better mark this time around in the new and improved National League East.

“When you get yelled at all game in Philadelphia, it’s nice to come back here and have people cheer for you and put a smile on your face,” Freeman said. “So it’s nice to come home. You know it’s sold out. We’ve had so much fun with them the last couple years, we expect good things to happen this year, too.”