Under a revamped front office and overhauled roster, the Los Angeles Dodgers again were crowned National League West champions and made a third straight trip to the postseason. Amid high expectations and a roster full of talent, the Dodgers flamed out, getting eliminated by the New York Mets on Thursday night.

Prior to the Dodgers suffering their Game 5 loss, A.J. Ellis spoke highly of rookies Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson. “Kiké’s been amazing. He’s just got a great presence about him, great energy that he brings to our clubhouse and on the bench and on the field,” Ellis said.

“I love watching him play with the enthusiasm he has. He’s a dynamic, explosive player too, so you can’t take your eyes off him when he’s in the batter’s box because he has the ability to do something special every time he steps in there.”

After not starting Game 1 against the Mets, Hernandez earned a start in each of the four games that followed. All but one came in center field, as Hernandez was slid over to left in the deciding game. He finished the series 4-for-13 with two walks, four strikeouts, and three runs scored.

Hernandez had at least one hit in three of four starts, going 0-for-3 with one strikeout and a costly ground into double play in Game 5. The super utility man took over for Pederson in center field as the season wore on and Pederson continued to slump.

“Joc, no secret it’s been an up-and-down role for Joc this year. But this guy has worked hard this last month of the season,” Ellis said. “He’s made good adjustments and he’s working hard with Mark McGwire and John Valentin, trying to make some big changes and have that good approach that he got off to early in the year.

“He’s another guy with his power and his excitement in the box and his ability, he’s one big swing away from changing a series. So excited to watch him out there [Thursday] too.”

Pederson appeared in all five games of the NL Division Series, and bookended it with starts in center field. He went a combined 0-for-4 with three walks and one strikeout over the two starts.

About The Author

Deborah is currently a junior Communications journalism major at College of The Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA. She interned for a year at SCVTV and served as their first high school sideline reporter. Deborah grew up playing sports her entire life and has always had a passion for writing. She plans to attend the University of Tennessee in the Spring.

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