The Dodgers and Padres feature some of the biggest names in all of baseball. There are players making $200+ million, players that have won MVP and Cy Young Awards and players that have been named All-Stars.
However, the most valuable player of the three-game series wasn’t a name you’d expect when looking at both rosters. It was AJ Pollock.
Just like he’s done all season, Pollock produced for the Dodgers. He’s been having one of the best seasons of his career, and he’s come up in the clutch a number of times for LA this season. With that being said, none more big and more clutch than his performance from this week.
We’ll start with Tuesday night, where Pollock had one of the best catches all season. Personally, I’ve critiqued Pollock’s defense at times in left field this year. He’s had some moments where he’s looked pretty bad with the glove, but man did he redeem himself.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Dodgers had a 1-0 lead. I was at the game sitting behind the Dodgers dugout, and I thought Manny Machado hit one to the second deck. As the ball stayed in the air, I saw Pollock inching his way closer to the wall. He timed his jump right and made one of the best catches of the season.
“I was thinking about the last time I tried to rob a homer and embarrassed myself,” he said. “I didn’t want to jump late and run into the wall. The timing was right and I was able to make that grab.”
Pollock is talking about his attempt last week against the Mets, when he tried to rob a homer but didn’t even come close.
Instead of trailing 2-1 in the fourth inning, the Dodgers held onto the lead. If the Padres hold on to win that game, who knows how the series plays out.
“When you make the play, you’re in the moment,” Pollock said. “You don’t get too many opportunities where you have a catchable ball over the fence that you can make a play on. It’s cool when the steps are right and the timing is right and you’re going to make that play for your teammate.”
That wasn’t his only crucial moment for the game. Later in the seventh, with the Dodgers hanging onto the same 1-0 lead, Pollock singled in two runs to put LA on top 3-0. Had he grounded into a double play or gotten out, the game yet again could have potentially shifted into the Padres’ favor.
The next game featured Pollock delivering in the clutch yet again for the Dodgers. He ended up having one of the better 1-for-7 games you’ll see. After starting the game 0-for-6, Pollock hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the 16th inning to help give the Dodgers the victory. For the second straight game, Pollock was the difference maker for LA.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s not just these two games for Pollock. He’s been doing this all season. Entering this weekend, he’s hitting .305 with a career-high OPS of .883. His 16 home runs are tied for the most he’s hit while with the Dodgers and his 55 RBI are the third most of his career.
In a Dodgers lineup that features so many amazing names, Pollock has proven to be one of the best and most consistent this season.
First pitch: 7:10 p.m. PT
Opponent: Colorado Rockies
Venue: Dodger Stadium
TV: SportsNet LA