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

Batting common is taken into account old style in in the present day’s analytics-driven recreation, a statistical relic that has been changed by on-base share, slugging share and wins above substitute as extra correct measures of offense, and a batting title doesn’t carry the burden it as soon as did.

“It does for me,” Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman shot again earlier than Monday evening’s 5-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier 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 common may be a little bit private. The 2020 Nationwide League Most worthy participant and 2021 World Sequence champion with the Atlanta Braves is in place to win the primary batting title of his 13-year-career, his main league-leading .329 common seven factors higher than St. Louis Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt (.322) within the NL.

Freeman has hit .300 or higher six earlier occasions however has by no means received an NL batting title and the Tony Gwynn trophy that comes with it. He completed second 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 stated. “Score 100 runs, drive in 100 runs and hit .300 are usually the goals for me.”

Test, test 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 on the season.

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

“That’s how you get points on the board,” stated Freeman, within the first 12 months 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 these left turns Monday evening — he went 0 for 3 with a stroll — however his teammates produced sufficient of them.

Joey Gallo crushed a 437-foot solo homer to proper subject within the second 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 third and fourth — and walked none.

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

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Occasions)

It marked the twenty seventh recreation of Kershaw’s profession during which he recorded 10 or extra strikeouts with no walks, breaking Randy Johnson’s earlier file of 26. He induced 19 swinging strikes amongst his 94 pitches. He threw 11 pitches within the first inning, 10 for strikes.

“It was great across the board,” supervisor Dave Roberts stated of Kershaw’s outing. “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 received a 12-pitch duel with Christian Walker, who fouled off six full-count pitches earlier 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,” stated Kershaw, who improved 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 battle was additional proof of Kershaw’s disdain for the stroll.

“You know he’s not gonna give in,” Roberts stated. “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 evening, incomes the win within the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. He struck out 10 and walked none.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Occasions)

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

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

Kershaw improved 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 subject. Gallo’s RBI single to middle made it 2-0, Lux singled to proper, and Taylor homered to left for a 5-0 lead.

Dodgers right-handers Evan Phillips and Tommy Kahnle every pitched an inning of excellent aid with one strikeout.

Craig Kimbrel gave up a single and hit two batters to load the bases with no outs within the ninth, however second baseman Lux bailed out the nearer with a spectacular backhanded, diving cease of Sergio Alcantara’s one-hop smash to begin a double play with a run scoring.

Lux flipped to shortstop Trea Turner for a pressure at second base. Turner then lower down the runner heading to 3rd.

“Just trying to keep the ball in the infield and trying to get an out there,” Lux stated. “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, bought Daulton Varsho to pop to first because the Dodgers improved their main league-best file to 102-44.

With the victory, the Dodgers clinched a first-round bye within the playoffs, making certain them of one of many prime two seeds in an NL Division Sequence matchup starting Oct. 11. The membership’s magic quantity to clinch the highest seed within the NL is six.

The Dodgers spent final season’s stretch run in a canine combat with the San Francisco Giants, who received 107 video games to edge out the 106-win Dodgers for the division.

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

“Man, what a difference a year makes,” Roberts stated. “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.”