Dodgers-Braves: Issues to know as Freddie Freeman returns to Atlanta as an opponent

The Los Angeles Dodgers go to the Atlanta Braves for a three-game collection this weekend, beginning Friday evening in Truist Park. It is a rematch of the 2021 NLCS – and really 2020 as properly. May this be a preview of the third-straight league championship collection between these two NL titans? Maybe.

Here is the schedule for the collection with the pitching probables.

The largest story is, after all, the return of long-time Braves star Freddie Freeman.

Drafted within the second spherical out of highschool in 2007 by the Braves, Freeman completed second within the NL Rookie of the Yr voting with the membership in 2011, performed on just a few contenders, was round throughout a teardown and rebuild after which was a crew chief up by way of the World Sequence championship in 2021. In his time with the Braves, he was a five-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger, a Gold Glover and an MVP. He ranks twelfth in franchise historical past in WAR behind 10 Corridor of Famers, plus Andruw Jones and Dale Murphy.

Freeman, although, signed a six-year, $ 162 million take care of the Dodgers within the offseason. This shall be his first time taking part in in entrance of the Atlanta followers because the “enemy,” although we are able to anticipate an enormous ovation for his first plate look.

He is on hearth, too. In his final 5 video games, Freeman is 11 for 22 with two doubles, a triple, three residence runs and 11 RBI.

Listed below are some extra objects of curiosity.

Familial foes

From April 18-20, the Dodgers took two of three from the Braves in Dodger Stadium. There was a feel-good second with Freeman’s son operating to hug Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson after which Freeman homered in his first at-bat. Former Dodgers nearer Kenley Jansen – now with the Braves – obtained a pleasant welcome from the Dodgers, too. Jansen would file the save within the center sport of the collection.

A few of that is to say, we have already had Freeman dealing with the Braves. We have already had Jansen’s return to Dodger Stadium in one other uniform and we have already had Jansen dealing with the Braves. We have checked every thing off the listing besides Freeman in Atlanta as an opponent.

Acuña is again

I suppose technically there was yet another field to be checked. When the Braves visited LA earlier within the season, Braves celebrity Ronald Acuña, Jr. wasn’t again off the injured listing but. Bear in mind, he tore his ACL final July after which the Braves went on an inconceivable run to the title with out him.

One may also recall proper earlier than the start of this season, Acuña made some feedback on his relationship with Freeman that drew nice consideration. He later downplayed them and stated they had been exaggerated whereas Freeman did not say something derogatory about Acuña in response.

The vital factor right here is about how Acuña is taking part in. He began a little bit sluggish, however continues to be slashing .275 / .367 / .456 (125 OPS +) with eight doubles, seven residence runs, 18 RBI, 26 runs, 12 steals and 1.5 WAR in 41 video games. Merely, he is once more the most effective and most enjoyable gamers in baseball.

Not that he is the one motive to observe the Braves. From veterans Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson to kids William Contreras and Michael Harris to plenty of the pitching employees, properly …

The Braves are surging

The World Sequence hangover went by way of Could. After two straight losses to the Diamondbacks, the Braves had been 27-31, 10 1/2 video games out of first and fives video games away from the playoff place because the calendar turned to June.

They might win 14 in a row to begin the month. After two losses, they’ve now received 4 of 5, pushing them to 18-3 with a +63 run differential. In the event that they began the season like this, there could be untimely “finest crew ever” discussions.

As issues stand, they’re nonetheless 4 video games behind the Mets, however maintain the second wild-card spot and completely have the look of a playoff crew. There have been some misguided of us on the market naysaying their profitable streak because it got here towards solely sub-.500 groups. First off, they received each single sport. Beating up on weaker groups is just a worthy dialogue level when a crew is profitable one thing like six out of 10, not 14 straight. That is baseball and anybody who is aware of how the game works realizes that 14 straight anytime is superb. Secondly, the Braves simply took three of 4 from a Giants crew that had received seven of 9 and was 9 video games over .500 coming in.

The purpose is that it is a robust crew taking part in its finest baseball of the 12 months proper now.

The Dodgers had been in a mini-funk

If you’ve established a baseline stage of greatness, it is the expectation that the crew will at all times carry out like that. As such, when the Dodgers have a stretch with as many losses as wins, it raises the eyebrows a bit. From Could 30-June 12, the Dodgers really went 4-9. They then received two video games towards the Angels, however misplaced two of three at residence to the Guardians. They’d a dropping file within the month of June and are actually neck-and-neck with the Padres within the NL West race.

They’re much higher than this and each crew goes by way of funks, however that does not make it any much less noteworthy.

Anyway, I stated “had been” there within the subhead as a result of they only swept the Reds in three video games and outscored them 26-11. Sure, it was the Reds and they’re one of many baseball’s worst groups this season, however typically that is all it takes to get an awesome crew going. Simply take a look at the Braves and the way their profitable streak began.

One thing to observe: Max Muncy, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger all had large video games on Thursday. They’ve collectively ranged from brutal (Muncy) to sub-par this season. If, by some means, these three all obtained scorching on the identical time, this Dodgers lineup turns into essentially the most harmful in baseball.

That is setting as much as be a wonderful weekend of baseball.

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