Enrique Hernandez displaces Joc Pederson from Dodgers’ outfield
Less than six weeks after starting for the National League in the All-Star game, Joc Pederson is no longer the primary center fielder for the Dodgers.
Even with right-hander Lance McCullers pitching for the Houston Astros, the left-handed-hitting Pederson was on the bench Sunday with Enrique Hernandez replacing him in the middle of the outfield.
“I think he gives us a better chance to win,” Mattingly said of Hernandez.
Hernandez, who was one for three in the Dodgers’ 3-2, 10-inning defeat Sunday, is batting .344 with an on-base percentage of .408 since the All-Star break. Over the same period, Pederson is batting .163 with a .333 on-base percentage.
“At this point, [Hernandez] has earned at-bats,” Mattingly said.
Pederson played Sunday, but only as a ninth-inning defensive replacement for Yasiel Puig, who was ejected in the top half of the inning.
Pederson has 142 strikeouts in 483 plate appearances, but Mattingly said the slumping rookie has done everything in his power to evolve as a hitter.
“He’s not a guy that’s been a prospect who’s come up and just doesn’t care,” Mattingly said. “Actually, the other direction. Probably cares too much. Probably lets it bother him too much. I have no doubt Joc’s going to end up being a great player.”
For a closer, a losing streak often involves a lot of waiting and little pitching.
Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers was reminded of that over the last week.
When Jansen was called on to preserve a 2-1 lead Sunday against the Astros, he was seven days removed from his last appearance.
Jansen failed to convert a save opportunity for the only the second time this season, allowing the Astros to send the game into extra innings. Chris Hatcher served up a 10th-inning home run to Jason Castro and the Dodgers lost their fifth consecutive game.
“You can’t beat yourself up about one-run leads,” Jansen said. “You don’t have enough room for error, so you can’t beat yourself up, especially if you didn’t pitch for a week.”
Jansen disparaged the two hits he gave up, using an obscenity to intimate how he thought the balls weren’t hit particularly hard.
The inning started with a single to right field by rookie shortstop Carlos Correa. With one out, Correa stole second base.
Correa scored on a weak single to right field by Marwin Gonzalez.
Jansen, who has 24 saves, hadn’t given up a run in his last six appearances. His only other blown save this season was June 10.
Puig was ejected after taking a called third strike with one out and runners on first and second base in the ninth inning. Puig stared at plate umpire James Hoye, then dropped his bat, apparently too defiantly for Hoye’s liking.
Puig was two for four with a stolen base.
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