JUpton on Freeman: ‘When he’s going, we all go’

Freddie Freeman’s been out of his slump for a couple of weeks now, but the Mets know it probably wouldn’t have mattered against them. The Braves first baseman always hits well against the Mets, regardless of whether he’s hot, cold or in-between in the days prior to their matchups.

Freeman entered Monday’s series opener with a .320 career average against the Mets, with career-highs of 13 homers and 50 RBIs in 59 games. He was on a 12-game hitting streak against the Mets, during which he was 22-for-51 (.431) with five doubles, four homers and 15 RBIs.

After batting .225 with a .327 on-base percentage and .387 slugging percentage over a 50-game stretch through June 14, Freeman was 23-for-62 (.371) with a .435 OBP and .597 slugging percentage in his past 15 games before Monday, and had nine extra-base hits (two homers) in that period.

“He’s a big piece for us — we all know that,” Braves left fielder Justin Upton said. “We know when he’s struggling we have to pick up the pieces, and when he’s going we all go. So he’s important for us. I think if he continues to swing the bat well it puts us in a good situation.”

Despite enduring what for him was an extremely unchacteristic extended slump, Freeman entered Monday batting .291 with a .382 OBP and .500 slugging percentage, and was on pace for 45 doubles, 25-26 home runs and 81 RBIs. Last year he finished fifth in the MVP balloting after hitting .319/.396/.501 with 27 doubles, 23 homers and 109 RBIs.

“Everybody has tough streaks,” Upton said. “He happened to have a longer one than usual this year, but he’s as consistent as you can get as far as preparation and getting yourself ready for a game. So we knew it wouldn’t be long before he was back anchoring the middle of the lineup. End of the day, none of us were worried.”

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