Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman within range of first batting title again – Orange County Register



BOSTON — Freddie Freeman calls himself a “hit collector,” figuring that other aspects of production will follow if he just keeps throwing base hits out there.

A year ago, if he had collected one more hit he would have not only had the first 200-hit season of his career but he would have won the batting title. As it was, Freeman (.325) finished one point behind Mets infielder Jeff McNeill (.326). Freeman’s career-high .341 average in the abbreviated 2020 season won him an MVP but was a distant third to D.J. LeMahieu’s .364.

With 35 games to go in the regular season, Freeman is in another race for a batting title – even if he doesn’t want to talk about it.

“No, because if you start thinking about that kind of stuff …,” Freeman said, raising the specter of a 2-for-20 stretch earlier this month.

“We’re still in August so we can’t talk about that yet. The last few days, I’ve been hitting the ball hard finally, finding a lot more better, consistent swings during the games. I had about a week-and-a-half stretch where I had a lot of fly outs, cuts to the right. Just working through things again like you have to a couple times a year.”

Freeman was 9 for 14 through his four-hit game Friday night, raising his average to .341 going into Saturday’s game. Meanwhile, Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez, who entered August hitting .381, has seen his average go into freefall, dropping to .354 through Friday thanks to a .236 mark (21 for 89) in August. By contrast, Freeman hit .396 (36 for 91) in the first 23 games this month.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has called Freeman “the modern-day Tony Gwynn” for his consistent at-bats – and ability to collect hits in an era when “hitting is harder than it’s ever been.”

Gwynn won eight batting titles during his Hall of Fame career and Roberts said Freeman has the ability to win one himself.

“Yeah, he does. If it wasn’t for one player, he would have the batting title this year,” Roberts said. “And I say modern-day (Tony Gwynn) because he manipulates the bat. He hits left and right(-handed pitching). He uses the whole field.

“The consistency of what Freddie does with the bat every year says a lot.”

SUNDAY FUNDAY

Right-hander Gavin Stone joined the Dodgers on Saturday at Fenway Park and will be added to the active roster for Sunday’s game. Roberts said Stone might start the game or pitch in some capacity later in the game.

Stone and Emmet Sheehan have pitched in games for Triple-A Oklahoma City recently following an opener. Roberts said “anything is on the table” when it comes to potential roles on a postseason roster and getting pitchers like Stone and Sheehan experience being used in different ways is “very important.”

“It’s important to run the play out as far as giving players some familiarity with any role we might entertain, especially a young player,” Roberts said.

Rookie right-hander Bobby Miller is getting an extra day’s rest before his next start Monday, with Clayton Kershaw scheduled for Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Dodgers (TBD) at Red Sox (RHP Tanner Houck, 3-7, 5.08 ERA), 10:35 a.m. Sunday, SportsNet LA, MLB Network, 570 AM



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