I like Joc Pederson. Pederson isn’t unlike the rest of us – he has his warts and imperfections. However, when the chips are down; Pederson has a way of delivering.
You see – the last two days in Cincinnati – the Dodgers seemed dead in the water. As I sat and looked at my television screen, I just asked in my head for someone; anyone, to deliver for the Dodgers. Pederson got the Los Angeles on the board on Tuesday night with a home run and allowed them the opportunity in a game that they eventually lost 3-1. Pederson’s 20th home run of the season off an electric Luis Castillo went down as the only tally.
And while he hasn’t and won’t seemingly hit left-handed pitching (OPS of .398 in 52 plate appearances), we know that. We can accept that. Pederson is an incredibly dangerous bat in the clutch against right-handers. What he’s done against those pitchers have kept the Dodgers in the pennant race.
Wednesday in Cincinnati could be considered his biggest performance to date.
Great team win today! Off to St. Louis ?? pic.twitter.com/18UJ0YZdAf
— Joc Pederson (@yungjoc650) September 12, 2018
With the Dodgers trailing 1-0 and in dire straits – a sweep of Cincinnati would have brought out the grave digger on the 2018 season – Pederson answered the bell.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 12, 2018
His home run off Anthony DeSclafani got the Dodgers on the board. Los Angeles of course scored eight unanswered runs to win 8-1. Two days in a row – with the team that has benched him, platooned him, and rebuilt him – Pederson helped them rise from the dead.
This is not unlike the forgotten moments of the 2017 World Series, when Pederson unexpectedly cracked three home runs and willed the Dodgers to a game seven.
While never a darling in the media, Pederson just seems like a truly good guy. We covered why Dodgers fans love Pederson in the past. Still, it should be evident that the value of this player goes beyond being likable and a great teammate.
The future is uncertain beyond 2018 for Pederson, as it should be under evaluation with such a crowded outfield. He has undeniable value with his ability to rake right-handed pitching. He’s shown the ability to adapt his approach and played some of his most complete baseball of his career. Pederson is under contract until after the 2021 season – but nothing is guaranteed beyond this year.
However, no matter what happens; I’ll remember these days of 2018 when Pederson made it ‘still summer’ for a few more days with his thunderous swings. When no one else stepped up, it was Joc who got off the mat and made sure the Dodgers had a shot.
And he’s the only player I’ve seen sign the crowd ‘hang loose’ before each inning. Despite his faults, there is an undeniable fit of him playing in the city he was born within. Thanks Joc – for being another simple yet important reason why I love the Dodgers.
[button color=”green” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”http://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-playoff-hopes-still-aliveepisode-19-blue-heaven-podcast-cp1085/2018/09/12/”]Blue Heaven Podcast Episode 19[/button]