Teoscar Hernández is trying to revive his career in L.A. So far, it's working



Last season, Teoscar Hernández could barely bat his weight in his home ballpark.

In two games at Dodger Stadium this season, the 2021 All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger looks much more comfortable in his new surroundings.

An often overlooked addition in the Dodgers’ billion-dollar offseason, Hernández introduced himself to Chavez Ravine on Friday night with a bang — two of them, actually — hitting a pair of home runs in the second and fourth innings of the team’s 6-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

“To get through the first three, four, five guys [in our lineup], and then have a really dangerous hitter in Teoscar, it can be dangerous,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Tonight, he proved us all right.”

Hernández wasn’t the biggest driver behind the victory, not after second-year right-hander Bobby Miller cruised through six shutout innings with a career-high 11 strikeouts.

Hernández didn’t author the night’s loudest moment either. That, again, belonged to Miller, who completed his 93-pitch masterpiece by blowing a 98-mph fastball past Nolan Gorman to escape a two-on, two-out jam.

As a crowd of 47,524 erupted in a roar, Miller clenched his arms and celebrated with an equally impassioned primal scream.

“That was awesome, I haven’t felt anything like before,” said Miller, the 2023 rookie sensation whom Roberts described as a “big piece to the puzzle” for the Dodgers’ rotation this season.

“He’s a top-end guy,” Roberts added. “He’s proving that now.”

Still, Miller’s gem aside, Hernández provided perhaps the most promising part of the Dodgers’ Friday night triumph.

Facing a left-handed pitcher for the first time this season in Zack Thompson — Hernández has fared much better against lefties than righties in his career — Hernández clobbered an elevated fastball in the second inning into the right-field bullpen for a solo blast.

In the fourth, Hernández ambushed a first-pitch curveball from Thompson for a three-run moonshot to left, pumping a fist as the ball bounced off the top of the wall and into the pavilion.

It marked Hernández’s 17th career multihomer game, and helped the Dodgers to an early 5-0 lead they wouldn’t relinquish (despite a wobbly three-run eighth inning from reliever Michael Grove).

“It feels great,” said Hernández, who bats sixth in the Dodgers’ stacked batting order. “I was just trying to get a good pitch … and tried to put a good swing on it.”

Added Roberts: “Teoscar’s got a good track record. There’s gonna be some strikeouts in there, but there’s gonna be some home runs. To have him laying in the weeds in the six hole adds a lot of length to our lineup.”

Signed to a $23.5-million deal for this season, Hernández had been hoping to rebound from a down 2023 as a member of the Seattle Mariners.

In what was arguably the 31-year-old’s least-productive MLB season — his .741 on-base-plus-slugging percentage was his lowest in a full-length campaign — the Dominican slugger struggled mightily at the Mariners’ pitcher-friendly T-Mobile Park.

In 79 home games last season, he posted a meager .217 batting average (compared to a .295 mark on the road) and .643 slugging percentage (compared to a .830 slugging percentage away from home).

When Hernández arrived as a late-offseason addition in January, punctuating the Dodgers’ $1.4 billion of winter spending, the hope was that his new home park would be friendlier to his swing.

Through two games, it has been.

Between his pair of blasts Friday, and a double in his Dodger Stadium debut Thursday, Hernández has suddenly emerged as one of the club’s biggest slugging threats early this season.

His three extra-base hits trail only Mookie Betts, who collected his fourth of the season with a leadoff home run in the first inning (it was Betts’ 29th leadoff home run as a Dodger, passing Davey Lopes for most in franchise history).

And though Hernández’s eight strikeouts are also the most on the team to this point, he has reached base safely in six of his other nine plate appearances, bringing some potent balance to the bottom half of a star-studded lineup.

On Friday night, in Hernández’s first signature moment with his new team, Dodgers fans got to see it for themselves.

“Yeah, you see it today,” Hernández said with a laugh when asked if he has liked Dodger Stadium more than T-Mobile Park so far. “Much better.”



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