The explanation behind Joctober may start with Anthony Rizzo.
Joc Pederson, the red-hot Braves outfielder, has been using the bat of Rizzo, his teammate with the Cubs until this July, during his torrid postseason run.
Before his pinch-hit home run against the Brewers in Game 3 of the NLDS, TV cameras caught Pederson using a bat with Rizzo’s name inscribed on the barrel. On Sunday night, when Pederson came up big with another home run against the Dodgers, the camera again showed Rizzo’s bat in his hands.
“I stole it from him when we were in Chicago,” Pederson said on the TBS broadcast last week. “He’s got a lot of hits in it. Thanks, Big Horn.”
Pederson is hitting .357 with three home runs and seven RBI in the postseason. Prior to being traded to the Braves, his OPS sat at just .718 this year over 73 games with the Cubs.
“It was pretty exciting, and [it] tied the game up and got the boys back in it,” Pederson said of Sunday’s homer, per MLB.com. “I’m just doing everything I can to help the team win.”
When Chicago decided to tear down in July, shipping Rizzo to the Yankees and Javy Baez to the Mets, Pederson – who signed with the Cubs as a free agent last offseason – was considered one of the more ancillary players on the trade block. The Braves got him two weeks before the deadline for Bryce Ball, a minor league first baseman.
Game 3 of the NLCS is Tuesday at 5:08 p.m. The Braves lead the series, 2-0.