Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman can almost go overlooked at times in the team’s star-studded lineup, which includes Trea Turner and Mookie Betts.
Freeman, a five-time All-Star, certainly has the attention of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who will continue their four-game home series against the Dodgers on Friday night in Phoenix.
Freeman went 4-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs in a 14-1 win over the D-backs on Thursday. He is batting .312 with four homers and 28 RBIs in his first season with Los Angeles following 12 seasons with the Atlanta Braves.
“Like I’ve said time and time again, I’ve never seen a player that just doesn’t give away at-bats, doesn’t take a play off,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He impacts the game on defense, on the bases, in the batter’s box, in the clubhouse. I knew he was a great ballplayer, but I sold him short.”
Los Angeles, which has won 10 of its last 12 games, took control early in the series opener Thursday by jumping to a 6-0 lead after two innings. The Dodgers finished with season highs in runs and hits (24).
Arizona has lost 22 of its last 27 meetings against the Dodgers and will look to bounce back from Thursday’s rout on Friday behind left-hander Madison Bumgarner (2-2, 2.76 ERA), who allowed four runs over seven innings against the Chicago Cubs last Saturday.
Bumgarner, 32, has pitched well in his first nine starts, with a 28-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 42 1/3 innings.
Justin Turner is 19-for-75 (.253) with four homers against Bumgarner, who is 15-16 with a 2.82 ERA in 39 career games (38) starts vs. the Dodgers.
Bumgarner’s ability to pitch deep into games has helped the D-backs, who have leaned heavily on relievers Ian Kennedy, Noe Ramirez and Joe Mantiply early this season.
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo was pleased to learn Thursday that teams can carry up to 14 pitchers through June 19.
“I think that’ll help us be a little bit more creative and save some arms down there,” Lovullo said.
Los Angeles is expected to send rookie right-hander Ryan Pepiot (0-0, 3.86) to the mound on Friday after pushing scheduled starter Tony Gonsolin back a day.
Pepiot, 24, has made two previous starts this season, including one against Arizona on May 17. He received a no-decision after allowing three runs on two hits over four innings.
Pepiot may want to exercise caution around Arizona first baseman Christian Walker, who hit a solo homer in Thursday’s game. Fifteen of Walker’s 64 career homers have come against the Dodgers.
Los Angeles is monitoring the status of infielder Max Muncy after the All-Star missed Thursday’s game with a sore left elbow.
Muncy suffered a torn left-elbow ligament at the end of last season and is batting .150 in his first 41 games. He reinjured his elbow while trying to catch a foul ball against the Washington Nationals on Monday.
Roberts said Muncy may require a trip to the injured list. Veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar has been added to the taxi squad in case he is needed this weekend.
–Field Level Media