The Dodgers welcomed to the party infielder David Freese and his 2011 MVP Cardinals World Series championship experience just in time for their final push for postseason action. Freese made his first appearance in Dodger blue against National League Western Division rival-the Arizona Diamondbacks. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t waste any time and inserted Freese into the lineup at first base, batting in the fifth spot for his debut.
Freese brought a gift to the party by hitting safely in his first at-bat, a solid single and finished the game going 1-for-2 with a hit by a pitch and displaying a stellar performance in the field.
Thanks to Matt Kemp’s clutch come-from-behind three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, the Dodgers went on to win 3-2 and took over sole possession of first place in the West. Great way for Freese to celebrate his debut. Freese has hit the ball well in his last 24 games since July 26, batting .308 with 10 runs, four doubles, four home runs and 17 RBI while with the Pirates.
In the Dodgers’ 11-4 win against the New York Mets on Sept. 4, Freese displayed some more power by going yard on one at-bat and batting .500 for the game while driving in two runs. Since Chris Taylor is experiencing a hitting slump this season with the most strikeouts in the majors, a productive bat was needed to fill that void.
So the Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi decided to add one final addition before the deadline for postseason eligibility (Aug. 31 waiver deadline) trading minor league infielder Jesus Manuel Valdez on Friday night for Freese.
Freese will be utilized as a right-handed hitting platoon option at first base and might occasionally play third to give Justin Turner some rest.
“He’s a veteran presence, offensive, great clubhouse guy,” said Roberts, who plans to start Freese exclusively against lefties. “Our guys [GM Zaidi and others in the front office] have done a great job supporting us, and I’m really excited to have him.”
Eight hours before Freese was added to the roster, the Dodgers also acquired veteran reliever Ryan Madson from the Nationals who will be a threat coming out of the bullpen.
Freese, so far this season (as of Sept. 4) has blasted 10 home runs, driven in 43 runs, and have a .784 OPS. That OPS is his highest since his All-Star season in 2012. Of course, the 35-year-old is best known for his superhuman performance in the postseason for the Cardinals in 2011, especially in the World Series against the Rangers.
In Game 6 at Busch Stadium, 11th inning, and with two strikes, Freese hit a game-winning lead-off, walk-off, solo home-run to deep center (420 feet) to send the series to Game 7. It was one of the greatest ‘shots heard around the world.’
“Definitely happy to have him,” Turner said. “An ultimate professional hitter, love watching him take his at-bats, and looking forward to wearing the same jersey as him.”