One of the main reasons the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired veteran David Freese before the waiver trade deadline was because of his postseason history. In 2011, he memorably was named National League Championship Series MVP and World Series MVP as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Freese has been everything the Dodgers could have hoped for and more in his short time with the team, leading the NL in hitting in the month of September with a .385 batting average while coming up with a number of clutch hits.
None were more crucial than on Monday afternoon though, when Freese delivered a pinch-hit two-run single with two outs in the sixth inning to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead over the Atlanta Braves in Game 4 of the NL Diving Series. The Dodgers went on to win, 6-2, to close out the Braves and advance to the NLCS.
“You get your work in, your prep before the day even starts, but pinch-hitting might be the toughest thing to do offensively in the game. But it’s mental. It’s just mental preparation,” Freese said.
“I think that’s key. I’m a mental guy, especially with my swing. Mechanically, you try and be set. But I feel like if I can think a certain way, I can put my body in a certain position, and that’s huge. When you’re feeling right, especially pinch-hitting, especially against the stuff that was coming at me, man, you’re in a good spot, and if you don’t try and do too much, balls can squeak through.”
Freese hadn’t played in the postseason since 2014, so suffice to say the turn his season has taken is unexpected. “It’s great. You never know if you’re going to be in the postseason. You never know if you’re going to get back,” Freese said.
“Obviously, my career is winding down. I expected to be in Pitt. August 31st. The game is over and I’m like, man, half hour until September 1st, I think I’m sticking around. And I get off the bus and get the phone call.
“Next thing you know, I’m on the plane at 5 a.m. going to L.A. to hang out with these guys. It’s crazy. You never know what this game is going to give you, what opportunities arise for you. You just gotta be ready. That’s what I’ve learned over the years.
“Whether you’re in high school, college, whatever, just be ready. You don’t have to be the best player in the world. You don’t have to make the most money, but you’re going to have a shot to do something cool. I learned that early in my career, and just try and stick with it.”
The Dodgers are certainly happy to have Freese’s presence in the clubhouse and on the field, and hopefully there is more big hits to come in the NLCS.
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