Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman and shortstop Trea Turner both came into Wednesday’s season finale chasing some personal accomplishments. Freeman was sitting on 196 hits, 98 RBIs, and a .324 batting average, just two points behind Jeff McNeil of the Mets in the National League batting race, while Turner came in with 97 RBIs on the season.
Someone did the math before the game and learned that Freeman would need to go 4-for-4 to win the batting title, which would also put him at 200 hits for the season. Turner’s shot at 200 hits was spoiled by a recent slump, but he still had an outside shot at 100 RBIs if he could drive in three.
Of the four personal goals, the Dodgers met two of them — Turner hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning to give Clayton Kershaw the win and put himself at 100 RBIs, and two innings later Freeman singled in Miguel Vargas for his own 100th RBI (he had homered earlier). That was Freeman’s third hit, but unfortunately, he had a fly out mixed in, so his 3-for-4 day put him at 199 hits and a .325 batting average, both as close as he could have come to his goals.
After the game, Kershaw was asked about the team’s support of Freeman and Turner in pursuit of their personal goals.
“I can only imagine grinding the whole year the way Freddie and Trea have, and be looking at goals and looking at numbers and things like that. Obviously, that’s not what— they’re trying to win the game, but at this point in the season, the last game, we all were rooting for Freddie to get to that 100-RBI mark, the same with Trea, and we obviously wanted Freddie to win the batting title, and it looks like he came up maybe a point short. But yeah, individual stuff is not why we’re here, but I think, today, we were all really rooting for those guys to get what they wanted.”
Hear from Clayton Kershaw after earning the win in the #Dodgers final game of the regular season. pic.twitter.com/cPWQC8vShD
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) October 5, 2022
One of the beauties of baseball compared to other sports is that nearly every personal statistical pursuit also helps the team win. Turner’s homer gave L.A. the lead, and Freeman’s single extended that lead. In football, Patrick Mahomes can only throw to one receiver on every play. In basketball, either Klay Thompson or Steph Curry can shoot the ball on each possession, but not both. In baseball, though, everyone takes a turn. When Freeman is up needing a hit for a personal pursuit, a hit will also help the team win. Baseball is unique in that way.
But still, it says a lot about this Dodgers team that Kershaw, famous for his serious, focused demeanor on the day he pitches, cared about Freddie and Trea and that he and his teammates were all rooting for their buddies to reach their goals.
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