Dodgers: Surprising Cody Bellinger update explains career-worst season

Jerry Trotta
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts walking back to the dugout after striking out to end the top of the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 03, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts walking back to the dugout after striking out to end the top of the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 03, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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It’s remarkable to think the Los Angeles Dodgers are 40 games over .500 despite getting minimal production from Cody Bellinger.

It’s been tough to watch. Has the league finally figured out how to neutralize Bellinger’s abnormally long swing? Or is this merely the season from hell and he’ll return to All-Star form in 2022?

Nobody knows, and that’s the most frustrating part.

However, Dave Roberts might’ve provided an explanation for Bellinger’s struggles while addressing the media before Saturday’s game.

During the presser, Roberts dropped a mini bomb on Bellinger’s health, saying the former NL MVP is dealing with a non-displaced fracture in his ribs that he suffered in a recent outfield collision with Gavin Lux.

As a result, Bellinger isn’t in Saturday’s lineup to face the Reds.

Dodgers Cody Bellinger has broken ribs and won’t play on Saturday.

We hate to pin the blame on injuries, but it’s the only logical explanation for Bellinger performing like a minor-leaguer this year. Over 89 games, he’s slashing .189/.237/.291 with nine home runs, 34 RBI, 88 strikeouts and a 43 OPS+.

Let’s examine the obstacles Bellinger has had to overcome, shall we? For starters, he underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason. That alone is tough to come back from, so a clean bill of health really would’ve done him wonders as he tried to rediscover his pre-2021 form.

Unfortunately for Bellinger (and the Dodgers) he’s had trouble staying healthy following the operation. Early in the season, he missed an extended period of time with a hairline fracture in his left fibula. In mid-June, he went back on the shelf with a left hamstring strain that sidelined him for over a month.

We’re obviously not attributing all of Bellinger’s struggles to injuries. The 26-year-old has been healthy for sizable stretches this season and still hasn’t produced. However, fans shouldn’t ignore the laundry list of injuries he’s dealt with. Most players would struggle, albeit probably not this much, navigating through all those hardships.

The fact Bellinger is willing to play through this injury is admirable and proves he wants to be there for his teammates as the Dodgers look to leapfrog the Giants in the NL West standings to avoid playing in a do-or-die Wild Card Game.

Having said that, Bellinger is in too long of a funk to be an everyday player right now, so expect Roberts to give the struggling star a couple days off.

Will that get Bellinger’s mind right? Probably not, but the next time you get queasy reading his stats, don’t disregard the fact that his inability to stay healthy might be the main reason behind his career-worst season.

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