Although indications from Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts were that A.J. Pollock was the likely leadoff hitter, the end of Spring Training saw Joc Pederson batting first more times than not.
Upon reaching the end of the exhibition schedule, Roberts indicated Pederson was going to remain in the leadoff spot for the foreseeable future. That decision paid off in spades on Opening Day, as Pederson went 3-for-5 with one double, two home runs and a game-best four RBI.
That type of performance put Pederson in rarified error. According to STATS LLC, he became the first leadoff hitter to have a minimum of three extra-base hits and four RBI on Opening Day since Roger Maris in his New York Yankees debut in 1960.
Additionally, Pederson joined Roy Campanella, Raul Mondesi and Yasmani Grandal as Dodgers with a multi-home run game on Opening Day. So too did Kiké Hernandez with his pair of home runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Hernandez’s and Pederson’s efforts contributed to the Dodgers setting an MLB record with eight home runs on Opening Day. That previously belonged to the Chicago White Sox (2018) and New York Mets (1988) as both teams hit six home runs in a season opener.
Furthermore, the eight home runs also tied a Dodgers franchise record for most in any game. It was previously set in 2002 when Shawn Green hit four in a historic performance.
Although Pederson was not tracking to be the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter come Opening Day, he certainly has succeeded in the role. Last season, he set a franchise record with eight leadoff home runs. The mark was previously held by Davey Lopes (seven in 1979).