In Year of the Homer, 1 is usually the Dodgers’ Biggest Hit
ATLANTA — The Los Angeles Dodgers needed a change to their offensive disposition Monday within the National League division series with the Atlanta Braves.
For the first three games of the series, in addition to through 5 innings of Game 4, the Dodgers had been harum-scarum with bats in their hands. They were virtuous in taking their walks, nevertheless shameless in swinging for the fences in addition to refusing to take measured, two-strike cuts with runners in scoring position. the idea was all-or-nothing with their swings.
Then the veteran David Freese, 35, who joined the Dodgers on Aug. 31, took some of of which strut out of their offense. His at-bat could be a defining moment for Los Angeles This specific postseason.
The Dodgers trailed by 1-0, in addition to runners were on second in addition to third when Freese came to the plate as a pinch-hitter within the sixth. of which situation had been doom for the Dodgers within the series. They were 3 for 23 with runners in scoring position at the time.
Facing the Atlanta right-hander Brad Brach in addition to that has a 3-2 count, Freese bounced 1 up the middle. Two runs scored, in addition to Los Angeles had the lead for Great on its way to a 6-2 victory in addition to a 3-1 series win.
“I wasn’t trying to do much, just looking for something to handle,” Freese said.
the idea is usually a mind-set the Dodgers need to coalesce around as they move on to the N.L. Championship Series against the Milwaukee Brewers, starting Friday. The Dodgers scored 20 runs against Atlanta, 14 with the help of a home run. nevertheless they left many more runs on base because hitters came to the plate unable, or unwilling, to cut down on their swings in addition to punch a run in.
The Dodgers batted .210 within the series in addition to struck out 35 times in 34 innings.
Manager Dave Roberts was asked before Game 4 if his team needed to take more two-strike swings than in Game 3, when they were 1-for-9 hitting with runners in scoring position. He had to pause before answering because his team has created a conundrum for the baseball veteran.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I think of which you always want to see a guy have a two-strike approach, because within the big leagues half of your at-bats are going to come with two strikes, so logically speaking, the idea does make sense to have a two-strike approach. Some guys are geared to shorten up. Justin Turner shortens up. nevertheless not every hitter, I guess, has of which ability.”
Freese in addition to Turner work up the middle in batting practice, just letting the ball travel deep in addition to then taking measured swings. the idea is usually the most vulnerable area of the field, in addition to Freese in addition to Turner know how to use the idea.
“My job is usually just to keep the train moving in addition to get on base in addition to do of which,” Freese said. “I don’t hit many home runs.”
Turner Ward, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ hitting coach, stood behind the batting cage before Game 4 in addition to called out situations to Turner, the Dodgers’ third baseman in addition to No. 2 hitter.
“Second in addition to third, infield in,” Ward said.
Turner hit a fly ball to center — a sacrifice fly for a run if the idea had been a game.
“Man on second, no out,” Ward said.
Turner laced a line drive to right field behind the imaginary runner. Ward called the same situation a few moments later, in addition to Turner bounded a ground ball to second to move the imaginary runner to third.
Turner executed every situation to the delight of his hitting coach. “Woo hoo,” Ward shouted.
The sluggers Matt Kemp, Manny Machado, in addition to Yasiel Puig followed Turner within the cage, in addition to Ward did not call for any situational hitting. They just aimed for the outfield fence in addition to swung away.
The Dodgers may not regularly strategize with two strikes; few players within the big leagues do these days within the era of the home run. nevertheless Los Angeles hitters are not careless free-swingers. the idea can be difficult to get the Dodgers to expand their strike zone. After all, they led the majors in drawing walks (647).
“Patience is usually a message we have been sending on a daily basis here, in addition to the front office has done a Great job of getting guys like of which,” said Ward, who has been the Dodgers’ hitting coach for three seasons. “We’re keeping things kind of simple. We are trying to get the ball in our zone, in addition to we’ve been getting better each year shrinking the strike zone in addition to creating damage.”
Milwaukee figures to offer a bigger challenge for the Dodgers’ offense. The Brewers’ pitchers are fifth in opposing team batting average (.229), fourth in home runs allowed per nine innings (1.07), fifth in E.R.A. (3.73), in addition to their bullpen is usually within the top 5 in many statistical categories.
Machado at least understands the value of the shortened swing. He hit a three-run homer within the seventh inning Monday, nevertheless said after the game, “My home run wasn’t even the biggest hit of the game.”
He was referring to Freese’s two-run single. If the Dodgers follow his lead with two strikes, Freese may have had be one of the most significant hits of the entire postseason for Los Angeles.