Jacob deGrom wasn’t to blame for New York Mets’ loss to Braves in Game 5 of NLDS. The 25-year-old had 11 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings and drove in two of the Mets’ runs. | Darron Cummings/AP Photo After belting a 3-run homer in Game 5, Freddie Freeman lands ‘America’s Comeback Kid’ title
NEW YORK – Will history repeat itself for Freddie Freeman?
In 2015, Freeman led the National League in home runs (40) and RBIs (116) despite playing for the Atlanta Braves. His red-hot start came under a cloud, and because of it he missed some games. One of those games was a crucial playoff game.
In fact, Freeman put the onus on himself, telling reporters: “It’s kind of on me whether I’m off, whether I’m running on fumes or whatever. But I’m not worried about what’s going on inside. I’m worried about what’s going on on the outside. I know I’m capable of doing it.”
In his first two at-bats at Turner Field in the Wild Card game, the right fielder hit grand slams. Then in a decisive Game 5, he hit a walk-off home run, plating A.J. Pierzynski and giving the Braves a 3-2 lead.
“I was sitting in the dugout thinking, ‘I know what I gotta do,’” Freeman told reporters. “I had to do it. The guys in front of me had to do it. I was just waiting for that situation. I was waiting for it. Everything worked out the way that I wanted it to.”
Atlanta would never come closer than one run in the remainder of the Wild Card game, beating the Mets 3-1 to eventually advance to the NLCS.
When the Braves host the Mets in Game 6 on Wednesday, it’ll mark only the third time in franchise history Atlanta has played in a League Championship Series. The Braves are hoping they’ve got the formula for a series victory.
“I know we’re a complete team and nobody on this team was put here just to get to the playoffs or the NLCS. That doesn’t bother me one bit,” Atlanta Braves’ second baseman Dansby Swanson told the media. “Nobody puts that on you or puts that burden on you. But we need to rise up and we need to play our best ball. If we do that, I think we can beat any team.”
As he did when he hit the game-winning home run in the wild-card game, Freeman will carry a ton of pressure. Unlike the year prior, though, he’ll have nearly an entire season to prepare.
“From day one, I knew we had the right people here and the right manager and the right equipment manager to make it happen,” Freeman said. “And every team goes through times like this, and I feel like we’re at the right time.”