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Apr 29, 2024 3:57 am

Coming off loss, Dodgers hopeful Freddie Freeman found swing

freddie freeman

Freddie Freeman’s power stroke has been missing for the bulk of the 2024 season.

But Freeman finally hit his second homer of the season on Sunday and he looks to inflict more damage when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix.

In the opener of a three-game series, the Dodgers will send left-hander James Paxton (2-0, 2.61 ERA) to the mound, while the Diamondbacks counter with fellow lefty Tommy Henry (1-1, 5.55), who is coming off his best outing of the season.

Freeman hit his first homer of the season on March 28 and went a whole month between long balls before ending a drought of 26 games.

The 34-year-old Freeman took extra rounds of batting practice looking to locate his premium swing.

“If I knew exactly, I would do the same thing every day and get lots of hits every day, but this game is hard sometimes,” Freeman said after Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the host Toronto Blue Jays. “And everything’s kind of been working. (I’ve) just been kind of doing really, really slow, soft swings in BP and letting the adrenaline of the game take the swing a little bit hard, and things have been, the last week, been a lot better.”

Freeman has hit more than 20 homers on 10 occasions during his 14-plus year career. He smacked 29 last season.

Now Freeman may be ready to regularly send balls over the fences.

“Things are starting to more often be a good swing than feeling one good swing every couple days,” Freeman said. “Not trying to hit home runs. I don’t care. I just know once the swing is there for being a good hitter, the power will come behind it.”

Freeman’s homer accounted for the lone run as Los Angeles saw its season-best six-game winning streak come to an end.

Los Angeles had just six hits and was hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Arizona is back home after going 4-6 on a road trip against the San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Seattle Mariners.

The Diamondbacks notched a 3-2 victory over the Mariners on Sunday to salvage the finale of a three-game set.

Arizona manager Torey Lovullo was happy to see the journey end with a victory.

“Of course, there were some things we didn’t do well, we could have won some baseball games, but the bottom line was we fought to win our last game of the series and we’re heading home and we’re looking forward to that,” Lovullo said.

Christian Walker homered on Sunday and Ketel Marte had a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth for Arizona.

Walker’s homer was his fifth of the season, tying him with Marte and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for the team lead.

“Obviously, all wins are great,” said Walker, “but to finish a road trip, a long road trip, get a happy flight home, try to hit the homestand with some momentum.”

The Diamondbacks are still waiting for reigning National League Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll to find his stride. He is batting just .189 with one homer and five RBIs.

As for his opposing pitcher Monday, Paxton has 17 walks against 11 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings. He’ll be making his fifth start of the season. He didn’t get a decision in his last turn as he gave up one run and five hits over 4 2/3 innings against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.

This will be the 35-year-old Paxton’s first career start against the Diamondbacks. Gurriel (4-for-13) has homered twice off Paxton, while Randal Grichuk (4-for-15) also has gone deep.

Henry, 26, gave up one run and five hits over six innings while beating the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday.

Henry has never faced the Dodgers in his 31 major league appearances (30 starts).

Shohei Ohtani (1-for-2) homered against Henry last season when he was a member of the Los Angeles Angels.

–Field Level Media

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