Wednesday evening, the Atlanta Braves dominated the Los Angeles Dodgers, earning not only their first win in Chavez Ravine in their last eleven attempts, but the ability to clinch their first pennant since 1999 with a win at Dodger Stadium in Game 5 on Thursday. How did the scrappy, 88-win squad get to the brink of destroying the Dodgers’ 106-win Death Star?
One could argue that a trade deadline haul of Eddie Rosario, Joc Pederson, and Adam Duvall helped to push the Braves over the brink, but another, much less subtle symbol may be the metaphorical answer: A string of pearls. Since the puckish Pederson began sporting the nacre at the end of September, the Braves have been almost unbeatable. First they lost only one game in taking out the 95-win NL Central-winning Brewers in four games and now they hold a commanding 3-1 series lead against the Dodgers.
To track, Pederson was first spotted wearing the pearls when he came in to pitch hit against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sept. 29. When Pederson homered on Oct. 2, pearls bouncing as he bounded around the based, Braves announcers expressed that this may have been the first time to see a man in pearls hit a dinger.
Asked about the necklace on Sept. 30, Pederson only offered that, “It’s a mystery for everyone. They’ll never know.”
In the beginning of October, he elaborated a bit, noting that “I’m a bad bitch,” when someone queried about the cream string. And on Oct. 11, Pederson cleared things up a bit more, noting that he bought the necklace from a jeweler because he liked the look.
“I’ve done the black chain and the gold chain and all those different ones and — I think a lot of other players have,” Pederson said in a press conference. “But I don’t know, it kind of caught my eye. I was like, ‘You know, those look good.’ “
Pederson insists that he had no clue that one pearl necklace would generate as much buzz as it has. While there very well be more to the story, Pederson’s late season surge has coincided with the Braves’ winning ways.
With pearls aflutter, the lefty hit two home runs against the Milwaukee Brewers to help the team advance during last week’s series. And on Sunday night in Game 2 of the NLCS, he tattooed a fourth-inning offering from ace Max Scherzer 454 feet into the right field seats. The two-run homer tied the game and brought Atlanta’s Truist Park crowd out of their seats.
Clutch those pearls: Pederson and the Braves might be on their way to their first World Series appearance since 1999.
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