Dodgers defeat Nationals, 9-3, behind Freeman, Martinez homers

The Dodgers have already won the three-game series against the Nationals and will be going for the sweep on Wednesday.

LOS ANGELES —The Dodgers have already won the three game series against the Nationals with back-to-back wins Monday and Tuesday, and could be in for a sweep tomorrow. The Dodgers are now 34-22 but only maintain a 1.5 game lead over the second place Diamondbacks, who have won seven out of their last nine games.

Here are three takeaways from the win:

Freeman continues to show he’s by far the Dodgers most consistent hitter

Freddie Freeman already has 77 hits this season (second in the MLB behind Bo Bichette of the Toronto Blue Jays, who has 78), and 4 of them came against the Nationals on Tuesday night, including a solo shot in the 8th inning. Overall, Freeman is now hitting .343 with an OPS of 1.006, both of which rank in top 3 in all of baseball, and he has already launched 10 homers, almost half of last year’s total of 21.

Though the Dodgers have raked at the plate most of this season already, lineup staples Mookie Betts and Max Muncy haven’t been that consistent. Betts is hitting just .249 with 11 home runs and 2 stolen bases, while Muncy is hitting .214 with 17 home runs and 39 RBI’s. Betts has been the spark-plug of the Dodgers lineup the last few years and has had trouble getting into a consistent groove at the plate. Despite the impressive 17 home runs, Muncy is still striking out at an alarming rate and his .214 average is not ideal for a clean-up hitter (even though Martinez has been moved up to 4 because of his hot streak).

J.D. Martinez looks like Red Sox JD Martinez and Dodger fans are loving it

J.D. Martinez continued his hot streak hitting his 12th home run on the season, a 3-run shot to extend the Dodgers lead in the 7th inning. Over his last 8 games, Martinez has accumulated 14 hits and 6 home runs, and Manager Dave Roberts has moved him into the clean-up spot where he hasn’t disappointed. The Dodgers signed Martinez to a one-year 10 million dollar contract following his 5-year 110 million dollar contract that he played out on the Red Sox.

On the Sox Martinez was one of the best hitters in baseball annually being in the mix for the MVP conversation, but last year his production took a big hit. Martinez had just 146 hits in 533 at bats, and launched just 16 home runs and 62 RBI’s despite being one of the leaders in all of those categories over the last decade. In 2021, just two years ago, Martinez had hit 28 home runs, added 99 RBIS, and hit a career high 42 doubles still proving he was one of the best hitters in baseball.

After the massive decline last season, teams weren’t willing to pay Martinez a lot of money and the Dodgers snagged him for an amazing price. If the last two weeks is any indication of Martinez’s future production, it seems as if Martinez is back on track to his regular production as one of the better hitters in baseball.

Back-to-back good starts from Starting Pitchers 

Dodgers fan may not be accustomed to seeing a Dodgers staff this weak, but what seems like a rarity this season, Dodgers starters pitched great in back-to-back games. Monday night standout Rookie Bobby Miller had his first career quality start, tossing 6 innings of 1 run ball and adding in 4 strikeouts and only 1 walk. On Tuesday night, Tony Gonsolin also had a quality start tossing 6 innings of 1 run ball, only allowing 1 hit and 1 walk.

Yes, these consecutive great performances by Dodgers starting pitchers occurred against a rebuilding Nationals team, but it is a step in the right direction nonetheless. Prior to Tuesdays game the Dodgers team ERA was 4.41, ranked 20th in the MLB. Now a lot of that is due to inconsistent relief pitching, but supposed ace Julio Urias has a 4.39 ERA this season and has given up 6+ runs in two of his last five starts, Clayton Kershaw started out the season well but has given up 4+ runs in three of his last five starts, Noah Syndergaard (who is pitching tomorrow) has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball with a 6.27 ERA in 47 innings, and Rookie Gavin Stone (who is filling in for the injured Dustin May) has given up 4+ runs in each of his first three starts to his MLB career. The Dodgers Starters have been riddled with injuries and poor performances, so having back-to-back dominant starts is a good sign moving forward.

The Dodgers will play the final game of series vs. the Nationals at Dodger Stadium Wednesday afternoon with first pitch set for 1:10 PST. Afterwards, the Dodgers will have Thursday off before gearing up for a three game series against the Yankees this weekend starting Friday night.