Cubs: Highlighting each of Joc Pederson’s three hits from Tuesday’s win
On Tuesday night, the Chicago Cubs played visitor to the divisional opponent Pittsburgh Pirates. Coming off of a series win against the first-place St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs need to stay hot as they entered play Wednesday just one game out in the NL Central.
Chicago quickly got the series started on the right foot. After a slow start defensively, and being down 3-0 to Pittsburgh, the bats came around. The Cubs totaled 11 hits on the night, three of which via leadoff batter Joc Pederson, leading the club to a 4-3 victory.
Pederson, after a stint on the IL, has been on an absolute tear. Pederson is second in the MLB aside from Aaron Judge with an average exit velocity of 95.8 since May 7. Pederson was no doubt the player of the game with his three-hit game.
I wanted to highlight each of the three Pederson hits from Tuesday night’s game, just to put his recent success on display.
Cubs: Hit #1 – Joc Pederson homers after a lengthy battle against Cody Ponce
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Pederson’s first hit was the most impressive to me as an at-bat. He demonstrated so much patience in the box. Keep in mind at this point in the game it was only the top of the third and the Cubs were down 3-0.
Pirates right-hander Cody Ponce was on the mound. He starts Pederson off with a ball that was close, but a bit outside. With a 1-0 count, Pederson rips the second offering down the line but was just foul, 1-1. The young hurler leans in and gasses a fast ball about chest high, and inside. With a 2-1 count, Pederson just misses another high fastball from Ponce. Pitch number five on the way, fastball down, Pederson fouls it off.
It’s established that this at-bat is going to be a battle for both guys, so even if the Cubs outfielder gets out, he made Ponce work for it. Ponce fires one inside to Pederson to make the count full for the sixth pitch of the AB. Count full, both Pederson and Ponce get ready. Ponce challenges Pederson with another high fastball. Crack! Pederson lifts the ball into right field that quite honestly looked like was going to be just a fly ball off the bat, but ended up leaving the yard for a solo shot.
The blast came off the seventh pitch of the at-bat, narrowing the gap to 3-1 with the Pirates still leading. Excellent patience and gamesmanship shown by Pederson. Credit to Ponce for battling, but I think he threw one too many fastballs.