Freddie puts Dodgers on his shoulders in May

June 2nd, 2023

This story was excerpted from Juan Toribio’s Dodgers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers just wrapped up a solid month of May, going 18-10 in 28 games. Offensively, the Dodgers looked like one of the best teams in the Majors. On the pitching side, however, the team has struggled mightily, especially in the rotation.

Things don’t get much easier for the Dodgers in June, as they open the month with a three-game set against the Yankees at Dodger Stadium. It’s the first meeting between the teams since the 2019 season.

But before that all gets started, let’s hand out a few awards for the month of May.

Player of the Month: Freddie Freeman

J.D. Martinez made quite the case with his eight homers in 18 games this month, but there’s probably nobody swinging a hotter bat in baseball than Freddie Freeman. Freeman is coming off one of the best offensive months in franchise history, posting a .400 batting average (46-for-115) with six homers and 26 RBIs in 28 games.

Freeman posted a .854 OPS in April, which is somehow considered a slow start for him -- which hints at how great he is -- but his OPS now stands at 1.008 and should be considered one of the early favorites to win a second National League Most Valuable Player Award.

Through a season and two months, the Freeman contract has been worth every penny -- and way more -- for the Dodgers.

Starter of the Month: Tony Gonsolin

The Dodgers’ starting rotation was solid in April, but it became a big problem in May as they dealt with inefficiency and injuries. Dustin May was lost for months and Julio Urías’ month got cut short with a hamstring injury. That forced Gavin Stone to get three starts and it became clear he wasn’t quite ready to perform at the big league level. Clayton Kershaw had his worst month in a long time, posting a 5.55 ERA after a dominant April.

Bobby Miller got some consideration for this fake award and he only had two starts after making his debut. That’s how poor the Dodgers’ rotation was this month.

Gonsolin didn’t have a great month, only pitching as many as six innings in two of his six starts this month, but he was the Dodgers’ most consistent option in the rotation. The 2022 NL All-Star has a 1.77 ERA through seven starts thus far in 2023. His 4.61 FIP suggests there’s been some luck involved in his start, but the Dodgers will continue to ride him as long as they can.

Reliever of the Month: Evan Phillips

After a couple of shaky outings to start the season, Phillips is back on track for the Dodgers. He made 11 appearances in May and allowed just one run over 11 2/3 innings with four saves.

Phillips gave credit to the birth of his first child as the reason he found his groove again. Whatever it was, the Dodgers have been thankful for it, as they’ve leaned on the right-hander in high-leverage situations. If Phillips continues this performance, there will be a lot of people in the organization campaigning for the right-hander to make his first All-Star Game.