The Dodger outfield arrives, with perfect timing
By Cary Osborne
The Dodger outfield has chosen September to start asserting itself.
Perfect example — Saturday night.
The trio of Josh Reddick, Howie Kendrick and Joc Pederson went a combined 5 for 10, scored seven runs, knocked in seven and reached base eight times. And in the bottom of the seventh, Reddick pounded a Christian Bergman pitch into the Rockies bullpen for a grand slam — his second homer as a Dodger.
Reddick is hitting .390 this month with a 1.005 OPS. This after an August in which he batted .161 with a .396 OPS.
Pederson is batting .304/.467/.695/1.162 with six homers. He is ranks third in September in OPS among all Major Leaguers.
Yasiel Puig is OPSing .988 in 43 plate appearances with four home runs.
Andrew Toles has slowed at the plate, going 8 for 38, but in the last week he’s had three assists, cutting two runners down at home. Included in that was his Friday night 98-mph throw from left field to get Nolan Arenado out at the plate in the first inning.
Dave Roberts attributed a lot of the September success to a word we’ve so grown accustomed to.
“They’ve all played as a unit,” Roberts said. “They’ve all been very unselfish. And one thing we talked about in April is the depth that we have, which allows our guys to stay as fresh as possible.”
“Every baseball player talks about the baseball season as a grind. But you can give guys (days off) and keep them fresh, which we have the luxury of doing because we have so many good players. I think it’s an advantage for us. So as we look through September and through October I think mentally and physically our guys are in a good place.”
It’s pretty much been a platoon in left field between Toles and Howie Kendrick in September — Kendrick starting nine games to Toles’ eight. But five different players have started at the position this month as well — Puig, Andre Ethier and Kiké Hernandez. Similarly, Pederson has shared time with Hernández in center, while Puig and Reddick have split right.
Eight different players have started in the outfield this month, including Rob Segedin.
The outfield has been a compelling storyline this season. From Ethier going down in Spring Training with injury, to Kendrick finding a new home in left field, to Carl Crawford’s departure, Scott Van Slyke’s season-ending injury, Puig’s demotion to Triple-A, Reddick’s slow start as a Dodger, the emergence of Toles and Pederson’s improvement.
And now September harmony.