The next stop on this journey is what Freddie Freeman has been waiting for the most.
On Friday, he will return to Atlanta for the first time since leaving the Braves to sign with the Dodgers this offseason.
It’s sure to be an emotional homecoming, complete with a World Series ring presentation and likely plenty of tears from the star first baseman.
And it was a moment that, try as he might, haunted him for weeks.
“You’re probably going to see me crying quite a bit this Friday,” Freeman said last week, reflecting on the reunion with his former team. “I can’t wait to go back but I’m almost looking forward to it being over so I can just try to focus on baseball.”
Meanwhile, however, Freeman seems to have no problem staying in the moment.
Instead, after plummeting in the first two weeks of June, the hitter has quickly re-emerged as one of the Dodgers’ hottest hitters after following a two-hit five-RBI burst on Tuesday, including a go-ahead for Wednesday’s home run in the team’s 8-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
“Obviously I know what’s going on this weekend,” he said after the game. “But that doesn’t really affect what’s happening today.”
With the Dodgers trailing by three early in the morning, Freeman helped lead the comeback.
He was hit by a pitch in the third inning, putting Trea Turner on second base.
Turner scored the Dodgers’ first run in the next at-bat, safely dodging a tag on the record of Will Smith’s RBI single with his trademark.
Freeman was part of a three-run starter rally in the fifth, earning an RBI single with one out before earning the tie later in the inning via a base-laden hit by pitch from Reds starter Luis Castillo.
Justin Turner followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Dodgers (42-25) their first lead.
The Reds (23-45) leveled it in the next half-inning when Dodgers starter Tyler Anderson gave up a solo home run against Albert Almora Jr., but later in the inning escaped a jam when Chris Taylor threw out Jonathan India at home a potential sacrificial fly.
“Oh man, that was great,” said Anderson, who gave up four runs — three earned — in five innings. “He figured it out. I mean it’s just a textbook. He’s a very textbook player and that was a very textbook game.”
It set the stage for Freeman’s go-ahead in the seventh, a line-drive homer that left bat at 108.5 mph and cleared the wall on the right to break a 4-4 tie.
There were Freeman 42 RBIs on the season, second-highest on the team behind Trea Turner, who has 50 RBIs.
It gave him his third multi-hit game from the last four, a stretch in which he went nine to 17 to take his batting average back above .300 for the first time since May.
And it was Freeman’s third blast in his last nine games after hitting just four in his first 58 games this season.
“Just to keep the pitchers honest that he can knock them out sometimes, I think it makes him a better hitter, a more dangerous hitter,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Freeman’s recent power boost, adding with a grin : “I don’t know. Don’t bother with the pull side home runs.”
The Dodgers pulled away an inning later when Trayce Thompson hit right center with a two-run double – his first hit since he was recaptured by the Dodgers in a trade with the Detroit Tigers this week – before hitting a sacrificial fly met by Trea Turner.
“It’s very encouraging,” Freeman said of the club’s second consecutive eight-run performance, something they had only achieved once earlier this season. “We got hits in time. We worked wonderful ABs, it seemed like all night.
“We took the bag flies when needed and went for walks when needed. That’s really all you could wish for.”
Anderson eventually throws a two-hitter
Anderson was charged Wednesday for scoring his first goal well before he conquered the mound at Great American Ball Park.
Earlier this morning, MLB made a notable scoring change from its previous game last week — deciding that his throwing error in the seventh inning of that game was actually a single for Angels infielder Jared Walsh.
Right now, the error call was crucial – it kept Anderson’s no-hit bid alive until he finally lost it with an out in the ninth.
In hindsight, however, the pitcher and Roberts joked they wished they’d known in real time rather than Anderson falling behind history after a career-high 123 pitches.
“I could have thrown a lot less,” Anderson said with a smile.
When asked about the Anaheim scoring change Wednesday, Walsh said he had requested the league’s review by an MLB players’ association. app – but only because Anderson hadn’t completed the no-hitter.
“There were a few people on the field, teammates, other people who encouraged me to do it by saying, ‘Hey, this is a pretty tough game for a left-handed pitcher, I have to pick it up, turn 180 and throw a strike. ‘” Walsh said.
“If the no-hitter resolved, I would not have appealed. In the game, the official scorer quickly decided on a mistake. I agreed. I hit the ball 20 mph for about three feet. If he still had the no-hitter, I wouldn’t have fought him.”
Times contributor Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-06-22/freddie-freemans-bat-stays-hot-as-dodgers-beat-reds-8-4 Freddie Freeman’s bat stays hot as Dodgers beat Reds 8-4