Freeman's stellar track record vs. Nats continued against ace Strasburg

Freddie Freeman has Stephen Strasburg's number. He also likes hitting at Nats Park. Both trends continued in Friday's series opener.

Freeman went 2-for-3 with a double and homer and four RBIs as Atlanta dropped the Nationals for the first time in seven matchups 8-5.

Manager Dusty Baker said Strasburg labored in the sweltering temps, but in the end it was the Braves first baseman that caused the most damage.

"It was too much Freddie Freeman," Baker said. "I was told before that Freddie has had a tremendous amount of success in this ballpark. It continued tonight."


Freeman had a tough time against the Nationals to begin the season, but his career numbers against Strasburg and at Nats Park have been outstanding. He even has trouble explaining why. But he knows why from his at-bats Friday.

"I can't give you a specific answer," Freeman said. "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 get to it 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."

Baker said Strasburg struggled with location in those two key at-bats against Freeman, who gave the Braves 1-0 and 5-3 leads.

"He got some pitches in an area that he wasn't trying to get it in," Baker said. "Changeup slipped out of his hand and was up, and then the breaking ball was up. That's what it kind of boiled down to. Freddie gave them the lead, and Peterson got a fastball up and out over the plate, and it was a matter of location. He didn't just run out of gas."

Strasburg agreed his offspeed pitch didn't do what he wanted and he left it up in the zone for Freeman.

"Really bad, poorly executed changeup," Strasburg said. "Then, 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."

Freeman is now hitting .412 (14-for-34) with three doubles, four homers and 13 RBIs against Strasburg.

At Nats Park, he is now hitting .329 (55-for-170) with 15 doubles, three homers and 21 RBIs.

How does he explain hitting Strasburg tonight after a tough stretch in April?

"I seem to always play well against the Nationals," Freeman said. "Obviously, I didn't know I was struggling against him. I know I had a bad first week of the season this year. You could've been pitching and I probably wouldn't have gotten a hit. It's just one of those things. It's nice to get back on the winning side."

And what may be more frightening is the confidence that Freeman says the Braves are demonstrating the last couple of months, despite a 44-72 overall record.

"We've been playing good for the last 55, 60 games," Freeman said. "Obviously we got off to a pretty rough start the first couple months but this team has really turned it around the last two months. We're trying to end strong and positive going into the offseason and we're doing that right now."

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