Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Those numbers would no doubt be different if Pederson (who can become a free agent after the 2020 season) were playing for a team with less depth – and lower championship expectations – than the Dodgers. In other words, they have better options against lefties than to “run out the play” with Pederson and see if he improves.“That’s part of the blessing and the curse of playing for a team with so much talent,” Roberts says.Irksome as it might be for Pederson (or a large segment of the fan base) to be in and out of the lineup, the ink has dried on Pederson’s limitations in the Dodgers’ eyes. But Friedman credits Pederson with maximizing his talents in this role.“I’ve known Joc since 2015 and everything we have challenged him on in the batter’s box, he’s met the challenge,” Friedman says. “There aren’t too many guys with his kind of power production that have improved their contact rate every year, year over year, which speaks to his ability to focus on areas of improvement while maintaining his strengths.” Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies “Jim Tracy did me a favor,” Roberts says, recognizing now that Tracy’s decision gave him (and the Dodgers) a better chance to have success.Pederson might come to that realization some day. Or he might not. For now, he acknowledges that he has at least come to accept the reality of his situation.“That’s fair,” he says. “I mean, I think I had one start against a lefty last year. That time will come when I get to start against lefties – obviously not here, not now. I can’t worry about what is to come. I know I can hit them. I haven’t really faced them in like three years so I’m not really worried about it.”Even grudging acceptance represents progress, Pederson acknowledges.“I used to try to fight it when I was younger,” he says. “It just made me frustrated and I wasn’t even able to succeed against righties and you get sent down to the minor leagues. It comes down to producing when you get called on. I don’t know when you get called on but you’ve got to be able to produce and be in a good mindset. It’s a mental grind.”Pederson says for a long time he “did not see things the way I see them now” until he gained some maturity. He credits veteran teammates and a former minor-league coach who is now in another organization with getting him there.Pederson also points to the minor leagues as the source of his belief that he can hit left-handed pitching if given the opportunity. Over his four full seasons in the minors (2011-14), Pederson hit .271 with 18 home runs off left-handers (including..299 at Triple-A).Without speaking directly about Pederson, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said success against lefties in the minors is not necessarily predictive for major-league performance.“Let’s put it this way. I wouldn’t say left-handed hitters that have had success against left-handed pitching in the minor leagues means they will have success against left-handed pitching in the major leagues. But it obviously doesn’t mean they won’t either,” he says. “It’s kind of a case by case.“A left-handed hitter who struggles on a slider from a left-handed pitcher makes it really tough because most left-handed relievers, most left-handed starters – they’re tougher on lefties and have that breaking ball going away from a left-handed hitter. So if that is something you struggle with against a left-handed pitcher, it’s way more difficult. As a left-handed hitter, if you struggle with stuff coming in to you vs. a left-handed pitcher, it’s easier to hit left-handed pitching because not many of them pitch arm side.“It really just depends on what it is and how the path works and the front hip of that left-handed hitter and how well they stay in.”Roberts admits there is “a sensitivity” and “a thought, for sure” to giving Pederson chances against lefty starters, particularly when Pederson is on a roll as he was in the first four games this season (7 for 15 with three home runs). But the Dodgers then faced four consecutive left-handed starters and Pederson was not in the lineup.At times like those, Roberts says he does feel like “the cooler.” But he leaves the obvious unsaid – that facing four lefties probably would have cooled Pederson off just as effectively.Pederson just had a four-hit, two-homer game in Milwaukee on Sunday. But he might not start a game in Chicago, where the Cubs will start lefties in the first two games and possibly all three (if Jon Lester returns from the Injured List). Pederson has been in the starting lineup against a left-hander just twice in the past two seasons, only 21 times in the four seasons since his rookie year in 2015 when he started 23 times against lefties.Related Articles Joc Pederson is a man in a box.An important, productive piece of the Dodgers’ lineup against right-handed pitching, Pederson has an 1.105 OPS this season and is one of the first three players in the National League to reach double digits in home runs (along with MVP candidates Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich).When the Dodgers face left-handed pitching, however, Pederson doesn’t play. He just doesn’t.“What am I going to do, (complain) and be a bad teammate? What good would that do?” Pederson says. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire “That’s just part of the game right now. It is what it is. Those are things that I can’t control and I can’t do anything about it.”Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says he understands how Pederson feels and it is more than a manager trying to soothe the bruised feelings of one of his players.“I lived it,” Roberts says.A .237 hitter against left-handed pitching during his 10-year career – robust in comparison with Pederson’s current .178 career mark – Roberts still remembers how he chafed when Dodgers manager Jim Tracy platooned him in center field with Marquis Grissom. Roberts made 112 starts in 2002 but only one of those came against a left-handed pitcher. The right-handed Grissom started against lefties.Roberts looks back on it with a different perspective now.