LOS ANGELES — With the Braves playing the Dodgers in Games 3 and 4 of the NL Division Series in Los Angeles, Freddie Freeman will be playing his first road postseason games about 30 miles from the house where he grew up in Orange, Calif.
Talk about convenience. Both of his older brothers, Andrew and Philip, will be at Dodger Stadium, as well as his father Fred and stepmother Alma and as many other family and friends as he can score tickets for.
"It's going to be fun," Freeman said. "Hopefully we can get some wins. Obviously I'm going to want to do good for my family and friends but overall, you've just got to out there and try to tune it out and put some great at-bats up."
Freeman has put up his share of good at-bats whenever he has played near home, batting .349 (15-for-43) with two home runs and six RBIs in 11 games at Dodger Stadium and .333 (4-for-12) with a double in three games at Angel Stadium.
But no game in Dodger Stadium will tell Freeman's father as much as he learned about his son in the first two games of the NLDS at Turner Field. Fred Freeman cashed in on a Father's Day present from Freddie and made the trip to Atlanta, his first since his son's rookie season in 2011.
It made quite an impression.
"All of a sudden, he's like a star now," his father said.
SECURE IN DECISION: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he wouldn't have done anything differently in Game 2 of the NLDS, when his decision to lift RHP Chris Withrow in the seventh inning for LHP Paco Rodriguez backfired. Rodriguez gave up what proved to be a winning two-run single to the left-handed hitting Jason Heyward.
"I think the situation in the game (Friday) night, no matter which way I go, it could be questioned," Mattingly said. "If I leave Withrow in to pitch and give up a hit there, I'm going to question myself and I'm going to be like why didn't I use Paco? So it's one of those things that if a move works, if the matchup works, it's good. If it doesn't, it's bad. So there is really nothing other than it not going the way I want it, that I would change."
NOT-SO-CLOSE CALLS: For two teams so evenly matched, the Pirates and Cardinals don't play a ton of tight games.
Five of the 21 games between the NL Central rivals this season have been decided by two runs or fewer, and 13 have had margins of five runs or more, including St. Louis' 9-1 win in Game 1 of the NLDS and Pittsburgh's 7-1 romp in Game 2.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said it's the drive in each that has led to the unusually high number of blowouts.
"Even the other day when we had the lead, we wanted to keep the throttle down and know that that team would keep coming," he said. "And I know, I sense in their dugout they believe the same thing."
AS IT WAS: Count Athletics CF Coco Crisp among those who is happy to be back to the traditional 2-2-1 format — two home games for the higher seed, two road games then a potential Game 5 back at home.
Last year, the higher-seeded A's lost their first two to the Tigers at Comerica Park, returned home to take the next two then lost Game 5 in front of the Oakland fans. That 2-3 system was an effort to keep the postseason moving and condense travel and off days.
"You get to come back home, especially if you have home-field advantage to start with," Crisp said. "I like it better."