Hello, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get to the story.

From Jack Harris: They were two of baseball’s greatest All-Star players.

Now, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith are the main hitters for the Dodgers.

By accident?

“I don’t think every player would agree,” said manager Dave Roberts, “but anything a player can use to motivate him, to get him through the season, I think it’s a benefit.”

It certainly worked for the Dodgers on Thursday, as Freeman and Smith both continued their form with two home runs in the Dodgers’ 4-0 win over St. Louis. Louis Cardinals.

As Roberts suspected, each player rejected the idea that missing the All-Star Game has motivated them this week.

“Even going into this … I started to feel better,” said Freeman, who has been on a bad streak since the All-Star teams were announced Sunday. “It just happened and clicked that day.”

Smith replied: “No, I don’t think so. I try to go there every day, same thoughts, same thoughts. “

However, their recent tear is helping the Dodgers (58-30) reach the midseason break, the team having won four straight and 13 of their last 15 games.

“Those guys use it, maybe, as a little bit of fuel,” Roberts said. “And we are the hosts.”

————

Baseball Cathedral: At 60 years old, Dodger Stadium has never looked better

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MLB All-Star home run derby: Kyle Schwarber faces Albert Pujols in the first round

Q&A: Rob Manfred on Trevor Bauer, the pay gap, regulatory change and TV blackouts

Their bright moment faded quickly. The story of the 1980 All-Star Game starting pitchers

Freddie Freeman’s former agent is suing Doug Gottlieb for tweeting about Braves negotiations

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ANGEL

From Sarah Valenzuela: The Home Run Derby brackets were announced Thursday. Missing from the final lineup was Shohei Ohtani, who fans were hoping would make another appearance during All-Star weekend.

The final spot went to Corey Seager of the Texas Rangers, who will be making his second appearance in the Derby since 2016, when he won National League Rookie of the Year as a Dodger.

Ohtani, on Wednesday, said he has not yet decided whether or not to participate in this year’s Derby because he does not know how long he will play in the All-Star Game the following day.

With the Derby settled, fans will continue to wait for Ohtani to DH in the All-Star Game.

On Thursday, before the Angels’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Houston Astros, American League All-Star Game host Dusty Baker said Ohtani was ready to do whatever Baker asked him to do.

“I’m glad he’s on my side for one day against the other side because, man, he can sing,” Baker said.

FOOTBALL

From Kevin Baxter: Think of the CONCACAF W Championship as a game of musical chairs. It started last week with eight teams rounding out the four seats, each representing a place in next summer’s World Cup.

That has all been said.

Now the music is starting a little and the pace is a little faster, because with a win in the semifinals on Thursday, the US and Canada are the only teams left. And the chair he is circling represents the only area for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The winner of the seat will be chosen in Monday’s final race.

The top-ranked US, which, like Canada, has already won the World Cup, won 3-0 over Costa Rica in front of a small crowd at the Estadio Universitario. Canada, ranked sixth in the world, followed it up with a win over Jamaica.

The last time these teams met was in the finals of last summer’s Olympics, a game Canada won on its way to the gold medal. But for player Alex Morgan, Monday’s rehearsal isn’t as much about preparing for the final Olympics as anyone else deserves.

“Competition has increased significantly in the last few years. But really, I’m not looking back, I’m looking forward,” he said. “Look at this team. There are a lot of girls who weren’t there last year.

“This will be our chance to punch our ticket to the Olympics [and] let’s prove ourselves to the world because we are number 1.”

BRITISH OPEN

From Sam Farmer: Tiger Woods loves the Old Course.

It doesn’t always like him.

Thursday was one of those tough days – more turbulent than mild weather – as Woods immediately took a break and struggled to hit the surprisingly soft greens, shooting a six-over-par 78 that put him in danger. missing the cut at the British Open.

“Well, maybe as many as I could have shot,” he said after a round that included two bogeys and two bogeys in the first seven holes. “I didn’t start well. I hit the 1st shot, it ended up in the middle of the new divot.”

A combination of an imperfect shot from the divot, and a wall of wind caused him to miss one of his shots at Swilcan Burn that crosses the fairway.

This was bad news for a player who has won three of his Claret jugs at St. Andrews. He is one of only two players to win multiple Opens there, along with Jack Nicklaus.

Woods had a few putts and often missed the hole.

“I struggled to hit enough putts,” he said. “It looked faster than what they were putting in, and I struggled with it.”

American Cameron Young had a different day than Woods, shooting a 64. First. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the -8 was the lowest score in the first round of the British Open since 1934.

————

How cheap British Open tent city became ‘Scotland’s biggest hotel’

From the circle of friends: Newlywed golfers test romance at the British Open

TRACK AND FIELD

From Andrew Greif: The acting president of Ukraine’s track and field federation entered the Zoom meeting from his olive green tent near the front lines, behind him a yellow and blue flag.

From Feb. 24 attacks by Russian troops in Ukraine, in the most dangerous areas including Bucha and Irpin, Yevhen Pronin’s nights are spent flying to gather information on Russian locations, and his days are used to run his other projects. By 9 o’clock, he looks away from his law office. Then the 31-year-old changed his mind to run the biggest sports organization in his country.

Since February, Pronin has helped organize the departure of 320 athletes from Europe, a number that does not include families or coaches. In March, he addressed a meeting of European leaders in Munich. It then returned to the battlefield, this time in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, following Russian troops who had regrouped and strengthened their positions.

“I stay here because I know we will win this fight and everything will be fine,” Pronin said. “The question is the price of this victory.”

With victory Pronin and his comrades are seeking two sides, both military and symbolic. In a wounded country, he and other Ukrainian officials and athletes believe there is power in claiming a place, whether around beaten cities or on the road to victory.

“If we win, if our players can do interviews, they can bring the flag, it’s a good place,” he said. “… I understand that it will be a big sign in the world.”

Pronin and Ukraine are one of the athletes they hope to send again this week when the world outdoor championships are played in the United States for the first time. The world’s elite competition often tries to establish itself as a safe place from politics, but what fans around the world will see inside Hayward Field in Oregon will be a direct reflection of what’s still going on around the world.

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And finally

Another productive game in MLB. Watch and listen here.

Until next time…

This concludes today’s article. If you have comments, suggestions for improvements or things you’d like to see, send me an email houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow you on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, Click here.





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