Freddie Freeman eyes batting title; Dodgers clinch first-round bye

Batting reasonable is thought of as outdated in lately’s analytics-driven recreation, a statistical relic that has been changed by way of on-base share, slugging share and wins above substitute as extra correct measures of offense, and a batting name doesn’t raise the load it as soon as did.

“It does for me,” Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman shot again sooner than Monday night time’s 5-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks sooner than a crowd of 44,854 at Chavez Ravine.

“I know people don’t put as much stock in batting average and RBIs, but if you go to a stadium, what numbers do they put on the scoreboard? It’s batting average, home runs and RBIs. If they don’t really care, then take them off the board.”

Freeman’s protection of batting reasonable may well be a little bit private. The 2020 National League most beneficial participant and 2021 World Series champion with the Atlanta Braves is in place to win the primary batting name of his 13-year-career, his primary league-leading .329 reasonable seven issues higher than St. Louis Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt (.322) within the NL.

Freeman has hit .300 or higher six earlier instances however hasn’t ever gained an NL batting name and the Tony Gwynn trophy that includes it. He completed 2d with a .341 mark to Washington’s Juan Soto (.351) in 2020.

“Obviously, you don’t go into any season saying that’s my goal,” Freeman mentioned. “Score 100 runs, drive in 100 runs and hit .300 are usually the goals for me.”

Check, take a look at and about to test. Freeman, who hit .382 with a 1.114 on-base-plus-slugging share, 4 homers, 13 RBIs and 14 runs in his first 15 video games this month, has 106 runs and 94 RBIs at the season.

Freeman additionally leads all primary leaguers with a .390 batting reasonable (55 for 141) with runners in scoring place.

“That’s how you get points on the board,” mentioned Freeman, within the first yr of a six-year, $162-million deal. “I think they brought me here to drive in runs, so I take a lot of pride in hitting with runners in scoring position. When there are guys on base, I want to keep them making left turns.”

Freeman didn’t generate any of the ones left turns Monday night time — he went 0 for three with a stroll — however his teammates produced sufficient of them.

Joey Gallo overwhelmed a 437-foot solo homer to correct box in the second one inning, and Chris Taylor capped a four-run fourth with a three-run homer to again the stout pitching of Clayton Kershaw, who gave up one run and 6 hits in six innings, struck out 10 — together with 5 in row within the 3rd and fourth — and walked none.

Dodgers' Joey Gallo celebrates with Gavin Lux and manager Dave Roberts after scoring on a home run by Chris Taylor.

The Dodgers’ Joey Gallo, left, celebrates with Gavin Lux, heart, and supervisor Dave Roberts after scoring on Chris Taylor’s three-run homer within the fourth inning.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

It marked the twenty seventh recreation of Kershaw’s profession wherein he recorded 10 or extra strikeouts and not using a walks, breaking Randy Johnson’s earlier file of 26. He prompted 19 swinging moves amongst his 94 pitches. He threw 11 pitches within the first inning, 10 for moves.

“It was great across the board,” supervisor Dave Roberts mentioned of Kershaw’s time out. “I thought that first inning set the tone, just the way he attacked. I know he always does that, but that first inning was different. Overall, how he managed the strike zone, he was really methodical. … It was really fun to watch.”

The left-hander gained a 12-pitch duel with Christian Walker, who fouled off six full-count pitches sooner than whiffing on a 72-mph curve within the fourth.

“I don’t care if he hit it a million miles-per-hour to the warning track — I just wanted an out,” mentioned Kershaw, who stepped forward to 9-3 with a 2.39 ERA this season. “It was time to throw a curveball. I’d thrown fastballs and sliders the whole at-bat, and Will [Smith, Dodgers catcher] had actually called curveball the pitch before.

“I shook him off and he fouled off another slider, and I was, like, ‘Well, it’s time.’ The curveball, for me, is always, ‘Can I throw it for a strike or not?’ And thankfully, I threw it for a strike.”

The combat used to be additional proof of Kershaw’s disdain for the stroll.

“You know he’s not gonna give in,” Roberts mentioned. “Christian and Clayton have a lot of history, so you have to find different ways to get him out. He spoiled some tough pitches, and I don’t ever recall Clayton throwing a 3-2 breaking ball, but the 12th pitch he finally said, ‘I’m gonna try something different.’ and he punched him on a breaking ball. It was good to see.”

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw follows through after delivering a pitch Sept. 19, 2022.

Clayton Kershaw gave up one run in six innings Monday night time, incomes the win within the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. He struck out 10 and walked none.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Kershaw has given up 4 earned runs and 14 hits in 4 begins since getting back from his newest again harm, putting out 29 and strolling 4 in 24 innings for a 1.50 ERA in that extend.

“The health is there, the performance is there, the buildup is there,” Roberts mentioned of Kershaw’s playoff worthiness. “The preparation, the mindset, all that stuff you can bank on, so we feel good right now.”

Kershaw stepped forward to 20-11 with a 2.70 ERA in 41 profession begins in opposition to Arizona. Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly fell to 0-9 with a 5.97 ERA in 12 profession begins in opposition to the Dodgers.

Max Muncy sparked the fourth-inning rally with a one-out double to left box. Gallo’s RBI unmarried to heart made it 2-0, Lux singled to correct, and Taylor homered to left for a 5-0 lead.

Dodgers right-handers Evan Phillips and Tommy Kahnle each and every pitched an inning of very best reduction with one strikeout.

Craig Kimbrel gave up a unmarried and hit two batters to load the bases and not using a outs within the 9th, however 2d baseman Lux bailed out the nearer with a impressive backhanded, diving prevent of Sergio Alcantara’s one-hop destroy to begin a double play with a run scoring.

Lux flipped to shortstop Trea Turner for a power at 2d base. Turner then minimize down the runner heading to 3rd.

“Just trying to keep the ball in the infield and trying to get an out there,” Lux mentioned. “That was the main thing. Keep the ball in the infield to save a couple of runs. A double play is best-case scenario. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, just try to keep it in the infield and get an out.”

Kimbrel, who gave up a three-run walk-off homer to Alcantara on Wednesday in Arizona, were given Daulton Varsho to pop to first because the Dodgers stepped forward their primary league-best file to 102-44.

With the victory, the Dodgers clinched a first-round bye within the playoffs, making sure them of probably the most most sensible two seeds in an NL Division Series matchup starting Oct. 11. The membership’s magic quantity to clinch the highest seed within the NL is six.

The Dodgers spent remaining season’s stretch run in a canine battle with the San Francisco Giants, who gained 107 video games to edge out the 106-win Dodgers for the department.

The Dodgers had been pressured to win a wild-card recreation in opposition to St. Louis and survived a grueling five-game Division Series in opposition to the Giants, however they had been gassed by way of the tip of a six-game NL Championship Series loss to the Braves.

“Man, what a difference a year makes,” Roberts mentioned. “Not to make excuses, but I think that [2021] stretch took a toll on us. This year, we’re in a different position as to how we go about preparing ourselves.”

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