Last October, Bellinger was a former MVP and multi-time 2020 postseason hero who seemed to have found his cape after a regular season full of whiffs. He struck against the Giants on the road in the late innings of the NLDS, then stung the Braves with a three-run, game-tying blast in the ALCS. Bellinger had basically done the impossible, forming a separate persona for the playoffs after a 2021 campaign many thought may have sunk his future in LA.
Now, entering 2022 with an arbitration-avoiding $17 million deal and a raise, the slugger again appears to be grasping at straws — and stances.
Clocking in at 4-for-27 after piling up 14 strikeouts in his first 19 at-bats, Bellinger now claims to be more comfortable, maintaining the same stance in back-to-back games (framed as some sort of accomplishment?).
Any news is good news, we guess, and comfort is comfort. But Bellinger finally “locking into” an all-new stance after two consecutive games is hardly enough data to give us any definitive evidence.
Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger has found an all-new stance?
Once viewed as a franchise cornerstone, Bellinger is now so close to the edge in LA that he considers two comfortable games in a row enough evidence to bank on a bounce back. Maddening.
It used to be gauche to suggest the Dodgers should think twice before factoring a Bellinger extension into their current plans. Now? He and Clayton Kershaw are nearly on the same plan in Dodger Blue; he’ll have to go year-to-year.
Is one week long enough for Bellinger to get the necessary repetitions Roberts cited in his above quote? Is he about to become the ultimate cage rat and cram for the Opening Day final exam, making us all look silly in the process?
Or will he continue to rack up more Ks than most starting staffs?
The Dodgers have a powerful enough lineup to survive without Bellinger, but that doesn’t make the decline of someone who looked the part of an icon any less depressing.
Despite all our skepticism … this would be a whole lot easier if the new stance just … worked.