For A Guy Who Can’t Hit, Joc Pederson Sure Is Killing The Astros
Surprise! Joc Pederson has been among the Dodger’s hottest hitters.
Fun facts about Dodgers’ outfielder Joc:
Batting average heading into the playoffs: .212.
Batting average in 14 at-bats in the World Series: .357.
He may not be given the chance to start Game 7.
Number of home runs in the World Series: three, including Game 6’s classic pitching duel that once again went against Astro’s starter Justin Verlander.
Dad’s name is Stu.
Wait, he won’t start?
Maybe, and for many fans, it’s a little disheartening, which is funny considering the odds that Pederson would be the hero of any game in the postseason were: not good.
Here’s a kid who showed tremendous power his rookie campaign, but couldn’t adjust to off-speed stuff in fastball counts or breaking ball counts. In both of his first two years in the league, he had rooooouuuuugh second halves.
He even spent part of this year in the minor leagues. He could have taken his money and gone home. But, he didn’t.
The one thing that always has given me hope: his at-bats. He will wear a pitcher out with at-bats, even if he strikes out. Over and over again this year, he would foul back the fastball and then foul back breaking pitch after breaking pitch before often succumbing to a high fastball. Something tiny was off, but the results were humongous…and horrendous. He and Curtis Granderson were neck-and-neck in a race for furthest under the Mendoza line. Only difference is, Pederson can hit a curve ball if he’s looking for it.
The reason for the change is unexplained, but I do know something is different. He looks a lot more under control. The swing is still big, but it looks shorter than it used to be and with two strikes it’s even shorter still.
His head is still and he’s hitting the ball to left field, the result of rousing games of “pepper” says FOX analyst John Smoltz.
I don’t care if it’s a rousing game of tiddlywinks. He has absolutely carried the Dodgers in two games in this series and has helped the club overcome the disappearing acts of Justin Turner and Corey Seager.
And judging by the way outfielder Chris Taylor is slumping, the Dodgers may need him again for Game 7.
It’s not like his average against left-handers was much worse (.207) than his overall average.
So, if you’re manager Dave Roberts, you have to leave him in there, don’t you?
If Dallas Keuchel does start, probably not. Kike Hernandez hit .270 against lefties and has some postseason magic of his own.
Even so, I have a feeling Pederson will be called on again.
Don’t be surprised if he delivers.