The Dodgers were busy on Friday with a pair of transactions that could cut into the playing time of Joc Pederson, and the streaky center fielder unveiled a new batting stance trying to turn things around.
Pederson entered Friday night in a 1-for-38 slump over his previous 14 games, and against the Tigers used a less upright batting stance, instead bending his knees.
Joc Pederson has changed his swing. Looks like Corey Seager or Chase Utley may have given him a few pointers pic.twitter.com/WzJ7zSG6bH— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) August 19, 2017
Shawn Wooten, who has worked closely with Pederson, has also left the building.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) August 19, 2017
The new stance did produce a positive result, a fourth-inning double against Jordan Zimmermann to the right center field gap. Pederson was 1-for-3 on the night.
Manager Dave Roberts described Pederson’s stance, per Jordan Horrobin of MLB.com:
"He's more crouched, trying to get into his legs a little bit more," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "To potentially get him in a spot where ultimately his head lands ... [which] allows him to see the ball better."
Some players alter their batting stances without noticing, for better or worse. But Pederson's adjustment was a deliberate measure to limit his head movement as the pitcher goes through his delivery.
"I thought he took some good swings tonight," Roberts said. "And he hit one to the pull-side gap, which is good for him. Just missed another one, but I actually thought he took better swings tonight."
Pederson leads the Dodgers this season with 14 RBI in 16 interleague games, hitting .212/.281/.577 with five home runs and four doubles against American League foes. But where he works on his new stance is yet unknown:
The Dodgers are 15-3 against the AL in 2017, and their 12-game interleague winning streak is one shy of the major league record.
Hyun-jin Ryu gets the start for the Dodgers, having allowed no more than three runs in any start dating back to June 17. Ryu has allowed 11 total runs in his last seven starts, with a 2.50 ERA, 43 strikeouts and 11 walks in 39⅔ innings during that span.
Michael Fulmer starts for the Tigers, having pitched at least eight innings in each of his last four home starts. In those last four outings at Comerica Park, the second-year right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA, with 21 strikeouts and two walks in 32⅔ innings.
The last starting pitcher to last eight innings against the Dodgers was Jimmy Nelson of the Brewers on June 2. In the 64 games since, opposing starters have averaged 5.32 innings with a 5.10 ERA against the Dodgers, who have a 52-12 record.
Time: 1:05 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, Fox Sports 1