Atlanta Braves Freddie Freeman Nick Markakis slumping in August

MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 8: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves is congratulated by Nick Markakis #22 after scoring a run in the fourth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 8, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 8: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves is congratulated by Nick Markakis #22 after scoring a run in the fourth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 8, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 25: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves throws his helmet after striking out in the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 25, 2018 in Miami, Florida. All players across MLB will wear nicknames on their backs as well as colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms during Players Weekend. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL – August 25: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves throws his helmet after striking out in the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 25, 2018, in Miami, Florida. All players across MLB will wear nicknames on their backs as well as colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms during Players Weekend. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

Ironmen don’t exist anymore

Freeman’s played in all 131 games this season amassing 1166 2/3 innings so far, that’s fourth on the list of innings played this season and he’s a big man who runs the bases like Ozzie Albies.  I applaud that but it takes a toll.

More than once this month I’ve seen Freeman look at his wrist after a swing as well. It’s impossible to know if it’s bothering him, he’d deny it if asked so there’s no point speculating.   However, I know from experience that old injuries seem to hurt more when you’re tired.

I’m positive manager Brian Snitker would rest Freeman if he had a genuine backup and not just an emergency guy who can play first in a pinch – well that and some nice strong chains to hold him on the bench.

A player like Justin Smoak or Lucas Duda would seem a nice add at his point, both cleared waivers earlier in the month are free agents after the season ends.  Smoak (.248/.355/.458/.813) is a switch hitter and solid defender at first. Duda hits from the left side with a significant L/R split – hits RHP at a .267/.335/.479/.814 clip this season – and an average defender.

Once the Atlanta Braves clinch the East, Snitker must find a way to get Freddie whole games off. It might be time to give Nick Markakis a day off too.

August attacks Markakis

Maybe it’s a coincidence but about the time Freeman went into his min-slump, Markakis did as well. Unlike Freeman, Markakis sped through 2018 so far without s significant hiccup in performance.

He led the league in hitting and Freeman passed him a few weeks back but in recent weeks both players slipped out of the top spot. Markakis sits in second with a .311 average behind Scooter Gennett’s .313. Freeman and Christian Yelich are tied for third with .310.

If it seemed like a regular occurrence that Ender Inciarte and/or Ronald Acuna would get on base and remain there after both Freeman and Markakis hit, you wouldn’t be far off.  Markakis didn’t fall off as sharply a Freeman but his production is down.