NEW YORK -- The curveball from Mets starter Jason Vargas loped literally toward home plate, more destined for the dirt behind it than any strand of outfield grass. Kevin Plawecki, the catcher, went to his knees to block it. From the left-handed batter's box, Freddie Freeman leaned forward, his back
NEW YORK -- The curveball from Mets starter Jason Vargas loped literally toward home plate, more destined for the dirt behind it than any strand of outfield grass. Kevin Plawecki, the catcher, went to his knees to block it. From the left-handed batter's box, Freddie Freeman leaned forward, his back stiff, as if putting on a green. He tracked, tracked, tracked ... then did the remarkable, poking the pitch on a line into center field.
What ended as a run-scoring single for Freeman in Thursday's 4-2 win over the Mets still had the Braves' clubhouse talking Friday, when the particulars of it surfaced.
Freeman hit Vargas' pitch when it was 0.85 feet off the ground, marking the lowest pitch a Braves player has turned into a hit this season. So improbable was Freeman's knock, his dad, Fred, asked him postgame how he hit the pitch.
Freeman shrugged when recalling the at-bat, but there was more to it than dumb luck. Freeman admitted as much when asked about his approach against left-handers, like Vargas, whom he's crushed as a whole this season.
"It's just foot down, hit a line drive right up the middle," Freeman said. "And it's seemed to mean me doing well against lefties."
Freeman has never been a slouch against southpaws, hitting .271/.353/.442 off them in his career. But his average, on-base and slugging against lefties this season all represent career highs, and have him on pace to join some elite company.
Only three left-handed hitters this millennium have eclipsed Freeman's .338/.399/.599 line against lefties for a full season. None have since Barry Bonds in 2003.
Freeman praises Deadline moves
Freeman also took time Friday to applaud the Braves' front office for its Trade Deadline activity, addressing publicly for the first time the moves made that, the Braves believe, position them better for the stretch run. Freeman said the additions, which included acquiring Kevin Gausman, Brad Brach and Adam Duvall, stack up against any team's in baseball.
"They're obviously not the big splash moves that everybody wants, but they are the moves that make a team complete," Freeman said. "Our bullpen has taken shape. ... If everybody continues to do their part, I think you're going to see us in the playoffs."
Braves manager Brian Snitker has spent a large chunk of the week offering a similar sentiment.
"We had all talked about needs and where to go, and I feel like we checked off most of the boxes that we had because we knew that we didn't want to give up a lot of the higher profile Minor League prospects that we had," Snitker said. "We liked all the guys that we traded, but I think we held onto a lot of the guys we wanted to hold on to in acquiring some depth on the team."
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.