The Los Angeles Dodgers wrapped up their eight-game road trip by completing a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates behind a game that embodied their focus and approach.
Corey Seager and Joc Pederson each hit a home run, players up and down the lineup worked counts, players took walks and three were hit by a pitch (twice with the bases loaded). However, there was also the curious case of Pederson failing to run out of the batter’s box.
Runners were on second and third base with one out in the third inning when Pederson was given the green light on Chris Archer’s first pitch. He swung at a slider on the inner-half of the plate and popped up to first base.
Pederson shouted an expletive out of frustration and immediately walked toward the dugout with the bat and both arms raised over his head. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts voiced some disappointment with the sequence and said he addressed the matter with Pederson, via SportsNet LA:
“That can’t happen. It’s unacceptable, it really is. He’s too talented of a player. You look around our club, we do things the right way, play the right way. A ball in fair territory and to not make an effort toward first base, it makes everybody look bad. I had a brief conversation with him. Joc knows that’s something that shouldn’t happen again.”
One of Roberts’ mantras since being hired as manager has been a commitment to playing each game with 100% effort and approaching every day with a business-like attitude. Yasiel Puig at times found himself benched due to a failure to comply with those guidelines.
Manny Machado had moments of lackadaisical effort after joining the Dodgers last year, including in the postseason, but wasn’t punished by being removed from game or kept out of the lineup the ensuing day.
Pederson historically has avoided lapses such as the one he experienced Sunday at PNC Park. He’s also someone who Roberts previously said would be key to the Dodgers’ success this season and World Series aspirations.