Freddie Freeman inside-outed a single into left field that scored Ronald Acuna Jr. in the second inning of Monday night’s Atlanta Braves victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. Beyond symbolizing that the Braves simply have a better team than the Phillies in 2019, the RBI served as a reminder that the Braves have put together a lineup that mauls the Phillies specifically.
If it feels like Freeman drives in a run every game or two that he plays against the Phillies, it’s because he does. Last night was Freeman’s 159th career game against the Phillies, and the run he drove in was his 95th against the Phillies. In total, Freeman has slashed .298/.333/.484 with 22 home runs, 84 walks and an .877 OPS against the Phillies in 159 career games.
Here’s the scary part – Freeman has done all of this before his 30th birthday. Thursday, when the Phillies wrap up their four-game set with the Braves, Freeman will turn 30. He’s under contract with the Braves through 2021, and there’s a very real chance he could finish his career on the Mt. Rushmore of Phillies killers.
If Freeman does end up on the Mt. Rushmore of Phillies killers, he may be joined by a familiar face – his teammate Brian McCann. Now in his second stint with the Braves, the Phillies actually were reportedly interested in McCann last winter before he returned to the Braves. Instead, he rejoined his original team on a one-year deal, and has two home runs and four RBIs in 29 at-bats against the Phillies in 2019. Most notably, he had a walk-off flare into left field off of Hector Neris on June 14.
At 35, McCann, a seven-time All-Star, is likely in the twilight of his career. He’s done a lifetime worth of damage against the Phillies already, as he’s slashed .277/.348/.481 with 24 home runs, 86 RBIs and an .829 OPS in 501 career at-bats against the Phillies.
While McCann spent five seasons in the American League in between stints with the Braves, Josh Donaldson played his entire career in the American League before signing a one-year/$23 million prove-it deal with the Braves after an injury-riddled 2018 season. Well, the former American League MVP has more than proven that he’s still an elite offensive third baseman, as he’s slugged 37 home runs and driven in 88 runs in 2019. Even if the 33-year-old ultimately prices his way out of Atlanta this offseason, he’s made his mark on the Phillies in his first season with the Braves. Donaldson’s three-run home run Monday was his sixth this season against the Phillies, and he has a 1.068 OPS in 51 at-bats against them this season.
The aforementioned Acuna Jr. is developing into a Phillies killer himself. Frankly, he’s killed everyone since he broke into the league in April of 2018. He’s just 21, and after winning the National League Rookie of the Year in 2018, he’s going to finish in the top 10 in National League MVP voting in 2019, if not higher. Monday, he led off with a home run, before robbing Adam Haseley of an extra-base hit in the home half of the fifth. Acuna has a .306 career batting average at Citizens Bank Park and has driven in 14 runs in 62 at-bats as a visitor. He’s the scariest name on this list, because he’s probably going to get even better than he already is, and the Braves already have signed him to a team-friendly deal that allows them to control him through 2028.
An all-time list of players who have tortured the Phillies would very likely include Jeff Conine, Levan Hernandez, Ryan Braun and Cody Ross, among others. But it’s impressive how Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos has built a team that’s not only 14 games ahead of the Phillies in the National League East race, but kills them head-to-head.
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