Freeman brings hot bat to third spot in order

Freeman brings hot bat to third spot in order

SAN FRANCISCO -- While determining how to construct his lineup without Chipper Jones on Saturday, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had the luxury of putting his hottest hitter in Jones' customary third spot.

Coming off his third two-hit game in a span of four days, Freddie Freeman batted third for Saturday afternoon's matchup against Tim Lincecum and the Giants.

"There's nothing better than a Major League hitter with confidence, and he's got it," Jones said of Freeman, who entered Saturday hitting .349 with three doubles and three homers in his previous 15 games.

Gonzalez's primary concern with putting Freeman in the third spot of the lineup was the fact that he was surrounded by fellow left-handed hitters Jason Heyward and Brian McCann. This could prove to be a problem against the Giants, who possess a pair of effective left-handed relievers -- Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez.

During the early portion of his career, Freeman has given the Braves confidence in his ability against left-handed pitchers. He has recorded seven hits, including a double and two homers, in 20 at-bats against them this year.

"You like the at-bats Freddie gives you against left-handed pitching," Gonzalez said. "I don't know what the averages are. He still probably only has like 20 at-bats, so I don't look at that stuff. I just look at the approach. He had a heck of an approach against [Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw] the other day."