The Atlanta Braves are two wins away from advancing to the 2021 World Series.
The club is playing some inspired baseball, and if the dominoes fall the right way, Atlanta could end up celebrating its first World Series title since 1995.
Interestingly, the Braves are succeeding in the NLCS despite the fact that one of their best players is struggling.
We’re talking about Freddie Freeman.
The superstar had a great regular season and put together a strong showing in the NLDS, but he hasn’t been a factor in the NLCS.
Will that change soon?
Freeman Is Hitless In The NLCS
The Los Angeles Dodgers have held Freeman hitless over the first two games of the NLCS.
The 32-year-old is 0-for-8 with a whopping seven strikeouts.
Although the Braves have a 2-0 series lead, Freeman’s WPA for the series is -0.301.
In other words, he has essentially been worth about -1/3 of a win in the NLCS.
Very few people could have seen this coming.
Freddie Freeman has gone 0-8 with 7Ks in the last two games and the Braves have won both of those games.
Never could’ve seen that coming.
— Ashland (@BravesAshland) October 18, 2021
He was great in the NLDS, batting .308 with a 1.086 OPS.
Moreover, in the regular season, he was an elite offensive player.
He slashed .300/.393/.503 with 31 home runs, 25 doubles, and two triples.
We all know what Freeman is capable of.
But so far, he has been silenced in the NLCS.
Will He Turn Things Around Against Walker Buehler In Game 3?
The Dodgers are giving the ball to Walker Buehler in Game 3.
Dave Roberts said #Dodgers will need to "lean on" Walker Buehler in Game 3 because of bullpen usage.
— Dodger Blue (@DodgerBlue1958) October 18, 2021
Buehler has been fantastic all year long, and L.A. is trusting him in the biggest game of the team’s season.
How does that bode for Freeman?
Well, not great.
Freeman is just 1-for-8 in his career against Buehler.
Interestingly, the lone hit was a home run, so that’s certainly worth noting.
But still, Buehler seemingly presents Freeman with a difficult matchup.
It’ll be very interesting to see if Freeman will be able to get something going against the righty.
Freeman Actually Has A Strong Postseason Track Record
Freeman’s postseason resume is impressive, so his struggles lately are extra surprising.
Prior to this 0-for-8 skid in the NLCS, the five-time All-Star had a career playoff slash line of .286/.389/.482 with five homers and seven doubles over 30 games.
Those are really solid numbers, and the Braves would love to see that type of production return from the veteran for the remainder of the playoffs.
So far, Atlanta has been able to get by in the NLCS without Freeman’s contributions, but that might not be the case for much longer.
The Dodgers are perfectly capable of erasing a 2-0 series deficit, and the Braves are going to need all hands on deck for the remainder of the series.
Freeman is likely very grateful that his teammates have been able to pick up his slack so far in the NLCS.
Guys like Austin Riley have been massive for Atlanta against L.A.
But again: It’s time for Freeman to turn things around.
He’s looking for the first World Series title of his career, and he needs to go out there and earn it.
Game 3 of the series will be played Tuesday afternoon.