Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has been so good against the Nationals over the years, particularly on the road in Washington, that Dusty Baker was given a warning as the first-year skipper of the Nats.
Those in the organization who have been around a while know full well how Freeman has tormented them often as a division foe. Baker, though, is new to the NL East. He needed to be filled in.
"I was told before that Freddie has had a tremendous amount of success in this ballpark," Baker said after the Nats' 8-5 loss to the Braves.
"It continued tonight."
Indeed, it did. Freeman again led the way for the Braves with a three-run homer, a double, two runs, a walk and four RBI. He is now batting .327 with 11 homers, 49 RBI and 26 doubles in 92 games against the Nats in his career.
"I seem to always play well against the Nationals," Freeman said.
Freeman's three-run homer on Friday night was an opposite field bomb, a high-flyball that cleared the fence in left field. His double also scored a run in the first inning.
Both of those hits came off Nats starter Stephen Strasburg, who Freeman has a particularly good history against. Freeman has hit .412 with four homers and 13 RBI off the Nats right-hander.
“I can’t give you a specific answer," Freeman said about his success off Strasburg.
"He’s got overpowering stuff. He’s got four plus-pitches. I got him into a 3-2 count in my first at-bat and he threw me a fastball and I was able to [hit a double] and he hung a changeup and there’s not much more than that. I’m not trying to do anything different, trying to hit a hard line drive up the middle. I was able to back spin a ball today.”
Strasburg gave his side of the story after giving up six total earned runs in 5 1/3 innings against Atlanta.
"It's just count leverage and falling behind. Not getting into positive counts. He's a really good hitter. It's kind of been a back-and-forth for years now. I've just gotta do a better job of hitting my spots with him. I didn't do that tonight and he beat me on it," Strasburg said.
The Nationals have always had trouble with Freeman and he now has some decent protection with the power-hitting Matt Kemp behind him. The Nats need to find a way to stop Freeman, but their 92-game sample size of trouble against him doesn't bode well for the future.
"It was too much Freddie Freeman," Baker said.
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