10/25 23:41 CDT In Joctober, Pederson does it all for Dodgers
In Joctober, Pederson does it all for Dodgers
By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
Joc Pederson is the guy the Los Angeles Dodgers didn't need or want --- until
After nearly being traded in February and hitting .190 in the regular season,
Pederson is coming up big in the postseason.
Pederson crushed a fastball from Rays starter Tyler Glasnow over the
left-center field wall leading off the second Sunday night, extending LA's lead
to 3-0. After enduring a stunning 8-7 loss in Game 4, the Dodgers rebounded
early and went on to a 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay. Los Angeles is one win away
from its first World Series championship since 1988.
"They don't call it Joctober for no reason," said Max Muncy, who added a solo
shot in the fifth. "The guy performs on the huge stage, that's just what he
Pederson could tell his 428-foot blast immediately was gone.
"They don't want that smoke," Pederson bellowed upon returning to the dugout.
"Come on, let's go!"
It was the Dodgers' 28th home run of the postseason after leading the majors
with 118 during the regular season.
Pederson struck out twice against Glasnow in Game 1.
"It was nice to be able to return the favor," he said.
The left-handed slugger also homered in the Dodgers' losing efforts in the 2017
and 2018 World Series.
Pederson doesn't have a set spot in the Dodgers' loaded lineup. But Pederson
fits in just about everywhere. He started in left in Games 1, 3 and 5 of the
World Series. He pinch hit and stayed in to play second base in Game 2 and
pinch hit and then played center field in Game 4.
"If you look at Joc's postseason track record, he always performs," manager
Dave Roberts said. "He's just laser-focused."
Pederson made a nifty running grab on a fly by Joey Wendle and smacked into the
wall for the second out of the seventh.
"I saw it coming off the bat pretty well, got a good read on it and ran it
down," he said. "It felt pretty simple."
After the Dodgers shelled out big bucks to trade for Mookie Betts and David
Price in February, they nearly traded Pederson to the rival Angels. But Angels
owner Arte Moreno killed the deal that would have sent the 2015 All-Star and
pitcher Ross Stripling to Anaheim.
"Definitely, it's been a little bit of a roller coaster but you kind of got to
adapt," Pederson said. 'It's baseball and making the best of what I got in
front of me."
Pederson struggled during the regular season, batting .190 with seven homers
and 16 RBIs. He went on the paternity list in early September, returned for a
stretch and then went on the family medical emergency list shortly thereafter.
Pederson began heating up in October. He's hitting .400 in the World Series,
second on the team to red-hot Corey Seager, who's batting .471.
"I couldn't be happier that he remained a Dodger," Roberts said.
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