Braves hope for quick Freddie Freeman return vs. Nationals

National Sports

The Atlanta Braves will try to recover from Saturday’s stunning ninth-inning loss when they finish a three-game series against the visiting Washington Nationals on Sunday, but they might have to do it without Freddie Freeman.

Freeman, the reigning National League MVP, was forced to leave Saturday’s game against Washington early because of an upper-respiratory infection. Freeman was feeling sick most of the day but tried to play through the illness. He flied out in the first inning and was lifted when he felt woozy upon his return to the dugout.

“He wasn’t feeling great but thought he could play,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “After he got out there running around, he wasn’t feeling good. He’s got to be feeling pretty bad to come out of a game like that.”

Snitker said Freeman might be back in the lineup on Sunday. The first baseman tested negative for COVID-19 before the game.

The Braves, fighting for the National League East Division title, lost 3-2 Saturday night. Washington rookie catcher Riley Adams delivered a two-out, two-run homer to spark a three-run rally in the ninth. It was the first career home run for Adams, who was acquired from Toronto at the trade deadline.

The Braves certainly need a healthy Freeman. After a slow start that saw him batting .195 through May 7, he has been one of the hottest hitters in the league. Since June 10, he is batting .367.

The Nationals also are missing a big piece of their offense. Juan Soto did not start the first two games of the series because of a sore right knee. He was able to pinch-hit on Saturday and drew a walk. Soto is batting .298 with 18 homers and 58 RBI in 100 games.

The Nationals squared the series on Saturday after an 8-4 loss the night before. Washington manager Dave Martinez gave the credit to Adams.

“That was awesome,” Martinez said. “Hitting with a catcher is a bonus. We knew he had that kind of power, and for him to come through was big.”

Two left-handers are scheduled to start the series finale on Sunday afternoon — Atlanta’s Max Fried (8-7, 4.05 ERA) against Washington’s Patrick Corbin (6-10, 5.74).

Fried ended a personal two-game losing streak by beating St. Louis in his most recent start on Aug. 3. He worked six shutout innings and allowed four hits, one walk and seven strikeouts.

In nine career appearances, eight starts, against Washington, Fried is 2-3 with a 6.15 ERA. He is 1-1 with an 8.44 ERA in three starts against the Nationals this season.

Corbin will try to end a three-game losing streak; his last victory came July 7 against San Diego. In his last outing on Aug. 3 against Philadelphia, Corbin pitched seven innings and allowed four runs on six hits, one walk and eight strikeouts. Corbin surrendered three home runs for the second straight start.

Corbin has had success against the Braves, going 6-5 with a 2.73 ERA in 15 career appearances (13 starts). He lost his only start against Atlanta this season and gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings on June 3.

Atlanta leads the season series 8-4. The clubs will meet again for a three-game series next weekend at Nationals Park.

–Field Level Media

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