The Dodgers have an opportunity to take the Wild Card Series from the Brewers tonight in Los Angeles. Clayton Kershaw will be on the hill for Los Angeles going up against Brandon Woodruff got Milwaukee.
Looking at the numbers, many expected Joc Pederson to be in the Dodgers lineup. Even though he’s had a down season, he has seen Woodruff very well in the past. In fact, in 3 at-bats, Pederson has taken Woodruff deep twice and singled in the other at-bat. Dave Roberts later clarified why he chose to go with AJ Pollock in left field.
I think it’s more on recency. And given us right now where AJ is at, Will Smith the way they’re swinging the bat. We want to get Joc going and get the right spots. But personally, I just feel that with Woodruff having an elite fastball at the top of the zone, I just haven’t seen Joc get to it and handle it this year.
In terms of recency, it’s not a surprise that Doc would choose Pollock and Smith over Pederson. Joc struggled throughout the 2020 season, putting up his highest strikeout rate since 2016. Pederson has his slash line fall all the way to .190/.285/.397, though he did show signs of life over the final 3 games of the year. Regardless, the Dodgers are going to ride the hot bats to a series win.
Pollock had a great comeback season in 2020 putting up a .881 OPS and co-leading the Dodgers in homeruns. Will Smith ended up being one of the most productive hitters on the team despite th fact that many of his hard-hit balls early often found gloves. The Dodgers will now have the added benefit of having Joc’s powerful bat waiting on the bench if needed.
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