The Dodgers have stood atop the National League West for most of the season, but they had yet to truly click on the offensive end. July has changed all of that, however, as the team has gone 11-2 with only two games left before the break.
Freddie Freeman and Will Smith have been leading the charge for the Dodgers, and neither player is showing signs of slowing down. Both Freeman and Smith have been instrumental in the team’s success all season long, but July has given them each a boost in production.
- Freddie Freeman: .412 BA, 3 HR, 6 2B, 9 RBI, 1.171 OPS
- Will Smith: .302 BA, 2 HR, 2 2B, 9 RBI (at least 1 in last 6 straight)
It may just be a coincidence, but both Freeman and Smith were left off of this year’s All-Star roster while being more than deserving. Dave Roberts is convinced that being looked over in terms of the All-Star Game has given these two some additional motivation, and his comments after Thursday’s shutout against the Cardinals echoed the same sentiment.
“I do. I don’t think either player will admit it. But anything a player can use to motivate them to get through the grind of a season I think is a benefit. Certainly, those guys use it as a little bit of fuel and we’re the beneficiaries.”
If you ask Will Smith, however, the All-Star snub isn’t the reason for his recent offensive surge.
“I’ve never been the high prospect, I don’t have a chip on my shoulder I just go out and compete, have fun, and try to help the team win.”
Whatever the reason may be, Smith and Freeman’s production has helped the Dodgers pull away in both the NL West and the National League as a whole heading into the second half of the season. While they may not be joining their teammates in the All-Star Game, their eyes are on a much bigger prize waiting for them in October.