Dodgers: Cody Bellinger coming alive in postseason is recipe for World Series repeat
After one of the worst regular seasons of all time (yes, we can’t believe it either), it was unclear if Cody Bellinger would do any contributing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the postseason.
How could the team have banked on that whatsoever, especially after the rib injury he suffered in September that was supposed to affect him for the remainder of the year?
Then, it was clear. Manager Dave Roberts demoted Bellinger to part-time duty about a month ago and it was assumed that would be the case (and perhaps a bit more intensified) when the pressure increased ten-fold deeper into October.
On the last day of the season, however, Max Muncy went down with an elbow injury that’s expected to keep him out through the NLCS, should the Dodgers make it that far. And that opened up an opportunity for Bellinger because Roberts seemingly wanted to ensure the team would be prioritizing defense in Muncy’s absence (Bellinger’s been in center field and Matt Beaty’s handled first base).
So far, Bellinger’s delivered on both ends of the deal, and this hit was a catalyst in taking down the Giants on Saturday night.
Cody Bellinger heating up now for the Dodgers will make all the difference.
Imagine Bellinger being anywhere near productive for the next few weeks? He hit .165 with a .542 OPS in 95 games this year and the Dodgers were still the second-best team in baseball with 106 victories to their name. If Bellinger hits .225 with a .710 OPS, they win 110?
But truthfully, if his “bounce back” was going to come at any time, the playoffs were always the most ideal. He’s mostly been hot and cold in October throughout his career, but any positive output makes this Dodgers team that much better.
His two-run double on Saturday night helped the Dodgers pull away (he made it a 4-1 game) and secure the 9-2 victory. The NLDS is now tied 1-1. Forget about his three strikeouts. At the time, the Dodgers needed to cash in after loading the bases with one out and knocking Kevin Gausman out of the game. His shot to left-center field kept the rally going and ended up getting LA two more runs when AJ Pollock doubled in the next at-bat.
Even Belli’s showing against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Wild Card Game was perhaps overlooked. He was the only Dodger to get on base three times and he swiped two bags. He ended up scoring the game-winning run. The perks of being able to put a former MVP eighth in the batting order, right?
If Roberts can trust using Bellinger for his defensive versatility and ability to lengthen the lineup, then that’s way more than the Dodgers could’ve asked for after what they witnessed during the regular season.
In a sense, Bellinger heating up would feel like a blockbuster trade acquisition, and it’d really put the Dodgers on a clearer path to repeating as World Series champs … if that already wasn’t clear enough for some die-hard fans.