Joc Pederson benched despite a .413 OBP in August

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On-base percentage is super important. It may be the most important single stat for batters. But there are limits to what a good OBP can do for you.

Take Dodgers rookie center fielder Joc Pederson. His OBP is a healthy .357 and in the month of August it’s a fantastic .413. But that’s almost all on walks. He’s walked 20 times in the month of August and has only two hits and 17 strikeouts in 41 at bats. His line for the month: .122/.413/.293. That’s profoundly weird — he’s walking more now and striking out less than he had been –but it’s not terribly useful, especially given the power expectations he set earlier in the season. He has only three home runs since the All-Star break. An All-Star break during which he appeared in the Home Run Derby.

Yesterday Don Mattingly benched Pederson, saying that Kiké Hernandez gives the team a better chance to win. Hernandez, for his part, is raking at the moment, hitting .327/.389/.551 this month, primarily filling in for Howie Kendrick at second base. With Chase Utley coming over to Los Angeles and with Kendrick due back eventually, Mattingly no doubt doesn’t want to lose Hernandez’s bat.

Just a weird year for Pederson. Say what you want about the tenets of becoming the second coming of a post-decline Adam Dunn, but at least it’s an ethos. Just not one helping a team with pretensions of hanging on to its lead in the NL West.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.