HOUSTON -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was asked to explain the sudden resurgence of Joc Pederson, a World Series hero only months after the club was so disappointed in the outfielder that it traded for Curtis Granderson and sent Pederson to the Minor Leagues."Some of it is mechanics, because he
HOUSTON -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was asked to explain the sudden resurgence of Joc Pederson, a World Series hero only months after the club was so disappointed in the outfielder that it traded for Curtis Granderson and sent Pederson to the Minor Leagues.
"Some of it is mechanics, because he did get lower in his legs, and he did that a month ago, you could see [he was] kind of sitting [in his stance]," Roberts said of Pederson, who wasn't even on the roster for the National League Division Series, but is 3-for-9 with two homers and four RBIs against the Astros heading into Game 5 at Minute Maid Park.
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"Also the focus of staying in the strike zone. He's taking pitches that he normally offers at, back foot in. And he's just got that raw power."
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Roberts believes having everything on the line has brought out the best in Pederson.
"You wish that, you'd like to think that focus is always there," Roberts said. "Now there's some confidence, maybe a little extra preparation, and maybe that's an idealistic approach, but I do think the mechanics are part of it."
Turner set for DH duty
Roberts said it was a "no-brainer" to move Justin Turner off third base and into designated hitter duties after Turner took a bouncer off his left calf in Game 4 on Saturday. Turner was replaced by pinch-runner Charlie Culberson.
Roberts insisted Turner is healthy enough to play defense had Game 5 been played in Los Angeles, but it made more sense to keep him off the field defensively. Culberson started at second base and John Forsythe started at third.
Dodgers get Monday rest
Without knowing the results of Game 5 on Sunday, Roberts had already decided to give his club Monday off after a night flight home from Houston. Roberts will spend the off-day home in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and the only players expected at Dodger Stadium will be those seeking medical treatment or a light workout.
"I just want guys, we're getting in late after three days on the road, just kind of reset," Roberts said. "Some guys will get a lift in or throw, but I want it as lax as possible for these guys."
Kershaw gets sneak preview
Roberts said he wasn't surprised at Clayton Kershaw's postgame mound visit after Game 4. After his teammates had exchanged congratulatory handshakes and left the field, Kershaw quickly toed the rubber with hands set at the waist, looked at second base, then looked home, before leaving the field.
"It's just the detail that he has," Roberts said. "Every little advantage, that he can just check the box, so to see it the night before there's a little bit of familiarity. I just think it's pretty impressive."
Roberts said he wasn't concerned that Kershaw would be too amped up for Game 5, after pitching as well as he did in Game 1.
Roberts said he wanted to stay away from using Brandon Morrow in Game 5, but Roberts didn't completely rule out using Morrow for a batter or two. Morrow said he felt fine after playing catch during pregame activities.
Morrow, who has pitched in all four World Series games, has never been used five times in six days.
Rich Hill, who was in the bullpen for Game 4, and Yu Darvish, who retired only five batters in his Game 3 start, threw bullpen sessions to prepare for starts in Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) in Los Angeles. Alex Wood, who lost a no-hitter in Game 4 after 5 2/3 innings, should be available out of the bullpen for both of those games.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.