‘Joctober’ continues for Dodgers’ Pederson in Game 5 of World Series – Press Enterprise

‘Joctober’ continues for Dodgers’ Pederson in Game 5 of World Series – Press Enterprise

In the first postseason plate appearance of Joc Pederson’s career, in Game 1 of the 2015 National League Division Series, he was intentionally walked by New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom.

It’s been more than a year since anyone intentionally walked Pederson, though that could change soon. His home run in Game 5 of the World Series padded the Dodgers’ lead early in a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, and it gave Pederson four hits in 10 at-bats in the series.

“They don’t call it Joctober for no reason,” Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy said.

Right-hander Tyler Glasnow got Pederson to strike out swinging twice in Game 1 of the World Series – once on a high fastball and once on a curveball in the dirt. In their first meeting on Sunday, Glasnow got ahead of Pederson 0-and-2.

Pederson watched a curveball off the plate, then launched a 99-mph fastball slightly left of center field, 428 feet from home plate.

“He throws the ball really hard,” Pederson said of Glasnow. “Just looking for, honestly, to put the ball in play. He got me in Game 1 so it was nice to be able to return the favor.”

Pederson drew a walk in his final plate appearance, ran down a long Joey Wendle fly ball in the seventh inning, then was removed for a defensive replacement.

Remarkably, the walk was only the second Pederson has drawn this month. He’s made a decent career out of taking a free base at the end of a long at-bat, but Pederson’s more aggressive approach has paid dividends.

“Pinch-hitting and stuff like that, you’re facing some really good arms,” he said. “The last thing you want to do is get behind.”

Pederson’s ability to impact this World Series figured to be somewhat limited. He does not start against left-handed pitchers, and the Rays have two – Blake Snell and Ryan Yarbrough – in their starting rotation. Yet the 28-year-old outfielder has continued to make the most of his limited opportunities.

Since the beginning of the NL Division Series against the Padres, Pederson is hitting .394 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 14 games (10 starts). Corey Seager was chosen Most Valuable Player of the NLCS, but Pederson was a quietly impressive second fiddle: 7 for 18 (.389) with only two strikeouts in six games.

In his six-year career, Pederson has been prone to streaks both hot and cold, perhaps more so than any of his teammates. This isn’t the first time he’s saved his best streak for the end of the season.

Pederson entered Game 7 of the 2017 World Series with three home runs in five games against the Astros. In the decisive game, Pederson scored the Dodgers’ only run. He finished the series with a .333 average, and the cheating scandal that cost the Dodgers a championship might well have cost Pederson a World Series MVP award too.