LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have been on a home-run rampage since slugging eight on Opening Day, and it reached record-breaking proportions with another multi-homer game by Joc Pederson in Wednesday night’s 7-3 win over the Rockies at Dodger Stadium, which trimmed their magic number to clinch the division to four.
Pederson homered in the first inning (off starter Antonio Senzatela) and fourth (off Wes Parsons), giving the Dodgers 250 home runs, a single-season National League record. The previous mark was 249 by the 2000 Houston Astros.
Pederson is on a tear, too. He homered in his last at-bat on Sunday, homered twice and missed a third by inches for a double on Monday night before leaving injured, returned to the lineup Wednesday night and sandwiched the two home runs around a third-inning walk.
“Just riding the wave,” said Pederson. “Swinging at pitches I’m able to handle. It’s really fun.”
That’s five home runs and a double in seven plate appearances. The six consecutive at-bats with an extra-base hit ties the National League record set by Colorado's Larry Walker from May 21-22, 1996, according to STATS. In Pederson’s next at-bat, he struck out.
“Joc is a guy -- he’s streaky,” said manager Dave Roberts. “These last 10, 12 at-bats he’s really been locked in. When they make a mistake over the plate, it’s a homer.”
According to Elias, the last Dodger with five homers in seven plate appearances was Hee-Seop Choi in 2005, and the last Dodger with five homers in six plate appearances was Shawn Green in 2002. The last Major Leaguer with five homers in seven plate appearances was Mookie Betts in 2016, while the last Major Leaguer with five homers in six plate appearances was Josh Hamilton in 2012.
Pederson has 32 home runs on the season. He tied his franchise record with the eighth homer this season leading off a game, and 19th of his career (second in franchise history to Davey Lopes’ 28).
In past years, Pederson would drive the staff nuts with constant tinkering at home plate. This year, from the moment he enters the batter’s box and draws a line from the plate to mark where he should stand, he’s adhered to a routine he believes is paying off.
“That’s where the consistency comes from. There’s a lot of ups and downs and you just want that nice routine and stick to what works, I guess,” said Pederson, whose routine includes using the bat of retired former teammate Andre Ethier. “Hope we get stocked up with a few more, just in case it breaks.”
Despite the offensive highlights, All-Star Game starter Hyun-Jin Ryu posted his fourth consecutive shaky start. For the third straight start, he could not complete five innings, failing to qualify for a win, even though he entered the fifth inning with a 7-2 lead. Ryu was charged with three runs and walked a season-high four. His ERA over the last four starts is 9.95, jumping his total from 1.45 to 2.45.
“It’s just command,” said Roberts. “There were some good throws, but his money-maker is the changeup, and even when there’s contact, it’s just a tick too high. With Major League hitters, that’s a big deal. Overall, the command is off a little bit.”
Roberts wouldn’t commit to whether Ryu would make his next start. The manager has hinted that skipping a start is a possibility.
“When you see he can’t put a hitter away or put him on the ground with soft contact, you know he’s not right,” said Roberts. “Physically, I know he’s fine. We’ll have a conversation. I’m not concerned. To expect him to go through a season flawless, this happens. Fortunately, there’s plenty of time to recalibrate before the postseason.”