Throughout his Braves tenure, Freddie Freeman has often been his team’s best hitter. Yet, he’s generally been penciled into the three spot in the lineup, in accordance with a traditional approach that doesn’t properly appreciate the pitfalls associated with hitting your best bat third. For a long time, there has been something been a din and a clamor for Freeman to hit second.
In this series finale against the Marlins... it appears to be finally happening? Yes, Freeman has moved up into the lineup’s second spot behind Dansby Swanson. It will be only the second time in his career he was slotted into the two-hole, with the first coming in April 2011. In his career, Freeman has taken hacks in every lineup spot but leadoff, but has gotten at least 25 PAs in each of those spots, except second, where he’s batted only six times.
The rest of the lineup moves up behind him. Marcell Ozuna bats third, and in a sign that despite the happy circumstance of Freeman batting second, the Braves just don’t get it, Nick Markakis hits cleanup.
The Marlins’ lineup is mostly familiar faces at this point given that this is the series finale. Lewin Diaz, who got his first career hit in his first career PA yesterday, makes his first career start, hitting cleanup and playing first base. Former Brave Ryan Lavarnway gets the start at catcher.
Game 15 of 60 • Rubber match with ATL leaves the winner in 1st place and LEWIN DÍAZ IS YOUR CLEANUP HITTER • The starting 9 behind starting pitcher Elieser Hernandez pic.twitter.com/Wc7kGajZSG— Swings and Mishes (@SwingsAndMishes) August 16, 2020
Both Freeman and Charlie Culberson (not starting), have taken Elieser Hernandez deep previously. Only five Marlins have faced Robbie Erlin, ever — their roster has fewer than 20 combined PAs against the southpaw.