The Los Angeles Dodgers continued their winning ways on Monday night with an 8-3 win over the rival San Francisco Giants.

While stars Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman showed up big in clutch moments, under-the-radar offseason acquisitions James Paxton and Teoscar Hernandez were key contributors in the win.

Freeman spoke about both players, per Jack Harris of The Los Angeles Times:

“It’s kind of amazing that All-Stars and Silver Sluggers slide under the radar,” Freeman said of Hernandez and Paxton, whose signings this winter were overshadowed by the acquisitions of Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow.

“Teoscar’s huge,” Freeman added. “As soon as we signed him, I was, ‘Ooh, that’s a big bat in the middle of the lineup’ and he’s been proving it.”

Paxton, after dealing with injuries that saw him bounce around between the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox in the last three seasons, worked in and out of trouble to earn the win.

The 6'5″ Canadian known as “The Big Maple” stranded eight runners while holding the Giants without a hit in four at-bats with runners in scoring position. He racked up five strikeouts with a heavy dose of four-seam fastballs, which accounted for 70% of his pitches. And in the most pivotal moment of the game, he snuffed out a fifth-inning bases loaded threat by inducing a soft groundout from Wilmer Flores.

Teoscar Hernandez ignites the Dodgers again

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Teoscar Hernandez (37) celebrates after hitting a home run in the sixth inning against San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Tyler Rogers (71) at Dodger Stadium.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2021 All-Star agreed to a one-year, $23.5 million contract to join this ever-expanding powerhouse. His decision-making process was quite straightforward.

“I'm hungry for winning,” Hernandez said. “There's no better place than the Dodgers right now.”

The 31-year-old slugging outfielder has played in just four postseason games during his eight-year career (all with the Toronto Blue Jays). One cannot underestimate the allure of being on a perennial contender that will command ample national and international exposure.

Hernandez has shown up big so far for the Dodgers. After hitting another home run against the Giants on Monday night, now has four home runs and nine RBIs in his 28 at bats this season.

For someone like Hernandez who is betting on himself with a short-term deal, hitting in a lineup surrounded by future Hall of Famers and All-Star talents all yearlong is hugely beneficial. He batted .258 with 26 home runs and 93 RBIs in 160 games in 2023. The 211 strikeouts (third-worst) are a definite concern, but the Dominican Republic native will have more chances to succeed than ever before on this overstuffed roster.

After struggling with the Mariners last season, Hernandez is thriving hitting in a lineup that features Freeman, Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Max Muncy.

While he and Paxton weren't the biggest offseason acquisitions for the Dodgers, so far they're proving to be key difference makers on a team with championship aspirations.