Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Freddie Freeman played a key part in the Los Angeles Dodgers breaking their franchise record with 111 wins during the 2022 season, but their year ended in shocking defeat at the hands of the San Diego Padres in the National League Division Series.
Now Freeman is part of a new-look Dodgers roster after an offseason in which the team was modest in spending. The conservative approach was in stark contrast to the Padres, who aggressively pursued Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before signing Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280 million contract.
San Diego additionally signed Yu Darvish to a six-year, $108 million contract extension, and Manny Machado for 11 years and $350 million. Fernando Tatís Jr. was signed a 14-year, $340 million extension in 2021, and last year Joe Musgrove received a five-year, $100 million deal.
“I’m happy they’re going for it. I don’t mind it. They want to win, that’s fine,” Freeman said over the weekend. “But we’ve a really good team over here too.”
The Dodgers lost their first meeting of the season to the Padres but responded with five consecutive wins. L.A. went 14-5 against San Diego in the regular season last year and have won 11 consecutive head-to-head series (excluding NLDS).
“We’ve been playing really good baseball the last couple weeks,” Freeman added. “We’re not trying to play the opponent, just play our game. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we’ve been playing really good baseball the last couple weeks.”
Since beginning their series at Petco Park during the first weekend of May, the Dodgers collectively dismissed the notion of having any added motivation in facing the Padres. Manager Dave Roberts reiterated that stance when asked if he believed the Dodgers sent a message to their NL West counterpart by taking five of the first six meetings in 2023.
The Dodgers and Padres don’t play again until August 4, three days after the MLB trade deadline.
Freddie Freeman found rhythm
Freeman went through a lull at the plate in the middle of April but started to find more consistency and has carried that into May. He explained being particularly aided by facing Milwaukee Brewers starter Wade Miley last week.
“I talked a couple days ago, I finally felt something in my swing. I know what to do, but sometimes you’ve just got to feel it,” Freeman explained.
“I felt very rotational with my hips, and having Wade Miley throwing cutters and sliders, it helped me stay through the baseball a little bit more.”
Freeman went 5-for-10 with two doubles, one home run and three RBI in the three games against the Padres.
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