Have the Atlanta Braves Found Their #3 Hitter?
The Atlanta Braves have enjoyed an offensive surge over the past couple weeks. Fredi Gonzalez, often criticized, seemed to make a great move early last week. Freddie Freeman was struggling at the plate and Gonzalez gave him a day off in the Braves’ loss to the New York Mets last Monday. On Tuesday, Freddie was back in the starting lineup the next night and hit 7th. The next night, Gonzalez moved him to the 5 hole and he hit his first home run of the year. The following night, he moved him into the 3 hole and Freeman exploded with 2 HRs, 2 2Bs and 5 RBIs.
Since Gonzalez benched Freeman, he has hit each of his 3 HRs, 5 of his 6 2Bs and driven in 14 out of his 15 RBIs. Freeman has developed into an outstanding option in the 3 hole of the lineup. He’s had 30 ABs there this season and posted a .267/.333/.600 line with 2 HRs and 8 RBIs. He has led the resurgent Braves’ offense to one of the most productive stretches they have seen since 2007.
Chipper Jones has enjoyed this spot of the lineup almost from the time he joined the club. With his imminent retirement and his skills more valuable in other areas of the lineup now, Freeman may be the person to take over for Chipper this season and beyond.