By just about any statistical measure, Freddie Freeman is the best hitter on the Atlanta Braves. He led the team in hits, OBP, and slugging in 2013. He hit .320 this April and led the Braves in hits. For whatever reason, Freeman has been shut down by the Miami Marlins in 2014.
After going 0-5 against the Marlins Thursday night, Freeman is now 0-24 against Miami this season. He’s only reached base one time in six games, drawing a walk. He struck out twice against Henderson Alvarez in the series finale in Miami, bringing his strikeout total against the Marlins this year to nine.
It’s understandable that Freeman has struggled against Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, but his lack of success against the other Miami hurlers are harder to figure. He hit .379 against the Marlins in 72 plate appearances last year, including hitting 3 HRs and picking up 11 RBIs. He went 10-for-18 against the trio of Alvarez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Tom Kohler last season, but is 0-for-11 against those same pitchers this year.
Freeman has reportedly been batting eye issues this year, but that certainly hasn’t affected him against other teams he’s faced this season. Against all other teams, the Braves first baseman is hitting .395. The Braves TV commentators theorized that the Marlins have been pitching Freeman inside more frequently, not allowing him to get his arms extended. However, data shows that Freeman struggles more with reaching for pitches off the outside corner more than with pitches on the inner half.
The Braves were swept in Miami for the first time in nearly a decade. If Freeman can’t get back to his normal self in the coming series against the Marlins, Miami’s next sweep of the Braves may come sooner rather than later.