For the first time since 1999, the Atlanta Braves are in the World Series.
Very few people outside of Atlanta expected the team to get this far, but the Braves have silenced the doubters in 2021.
The organization is now just four wins away from accomplishing the ultimate goal.
But if the club wants to win it all, it’s going to need one player in particular to stand out above the rest: Freddie Freeman.
He needs to be the best player on the field in this series.
When Freeman Goes, The Braves Go
Freeman is arguably the most important hitter in Atlanta’s lineup.
In the regular season, it became clear that Atlanta needs the 32-year-old’s production to play championship baseball.
Here’s all the evidence you need:
- In wins, Freeman batted .340 with a 1.014 OPS in the regular season
- In losses, Freeman batted .249 with a .746 OPS in the regular season
After the loss of Ronald Acuna Jr., Freeman was one of the biggest players who stepped up for the Braves in the regular season.
Acuna tore his ACL on July 10.
From that date to the end of the regular season, Freeman batted .332 with a .930 OPS.
A lot of folks were ready to write Atlanta off when Acuna went down.
Instead, the team won the NL East and is now in the World Series.
Freeman has had a major hand in that.
Freeman’s Postseason At A Glance
Freeman has had a monster postseason so far, and there’s no telling if the Braves would be in the World Series without him.
The five-time All-Star is slashing .294/.455/.618 over 10 games in these playoffs.
He has homered three times and doubled twice.
FREDDIE FREEMAN BLASTS A 2-RUN HOMER 💥💥
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 22, 2021
Really, this comes as no surprise.
The 32-year-old has always been a great playoff performer.
For his career, he has a slash line of.286/.399/.504 in over 36 postseason games.
He has seven homers and eight doubles to his credit.
The former second-round pick is still looking for his first-ever World Series title, though.
And if he wants it, he’s going to have to earn it.
Freddie Freeman celebrating. pic.twitter.com/hXBr0Y8CAA
— Baseball GIFs (@gifs_baseball) October 24, 2021
He’s only four wins away from etching his name into Braves lore forever.
Will He Get Off To A Hot Start In Game 1?
Game 1 of the series will get underway in a matter of hours.
Although Valdez has been in the big leagues for several years, Freeman has actually never faced him.
Valdez has never pitched against Atlanta.
For that reason, we don’t really know what to expect.
The Braves could feast against the lefty, and Freeman could get off to an all-important hot start, or, Valdez could silence Atlanta’s bats and give the Astros a huge advantage early in the series.
Only time will tell.
But one thing is for sure: Game 1 is huge.
Teams that win Game 1 of the World Series go on to win the title 63.8 percent of the time.
We’ll see if that trend continues this year.