Dodgers News: Cody Bellinger Reacts to Forced Curtain Call After Go-Ahead Slam
For the Dodgers and Cody Bellinger, the odds were not in the former MVP’s favor both going into Friday Night’s game and during his at-bat in the bottom of the eighth.
Bellinger has been ice cold over the past two seasons. Shoulder surgery and a leg injury derailed him last season. In his 2021 campaign, he finished second to last in wRC+ (48), had the fifth worst slugging percentage (.302), and had the fourth lowest WAR (-1.0).
During his MVP season in 2019, Belli had a batting average of .305 and hit .280 against left-handed pitchers with 18 of his 47 home runs off southpaws. But since his injuries, lefties have been an Achilles heel in his game. He has batted .155 against them with just two home runs in 187 at-bats before Friday night.
With a .208 batting average, Dodgers fans were starting to wonder if Bellinger would ever be the dangerous hitter he once was.
Down 0-2 in the count, the former Gold Glove award winner was in fight mode. Belli spoiled three pitches for foul balls before staying on a 78 mile-per-hour curveball and just barely hooking it around the right field foul pole for an improbable home run.
The bomb ripped off Giants reliever Sam Long cashed in Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, and Jake Lamb for a grand slam — the seventh of Cody’s career.
After taking the 5-1 lead, between innings, his teammates, led by Justin Turner nudged Bellinger to take a curtain call. The former MVP took the field as chants of “Co-dy” and cheers roared throughout the Chavez Ravine on Friday night.
After the game, Bellinger talked about the significance of that moment to Bill Plunkett, amongst others.
“They said they were calling it, but I didn’t think so. JT pushed me up and that’s one of the best feelings right there.”
Roberts has remained in Bellinger’s corner throughout his lack of hitting power in the past few seasons, he had this to say after his performance in the late inning.
“This is a guy who’s a former MVP. He knows the moments, and he’s come out on top of the moments, and you have to keep running guys out there and hope it’s going to turn…his is something that might continue to build confidence. I’ve obviously shown my belief in him, his teammates, it was really good to see him come through.”
After being moved to the ninth spot on the lineup this season for the first time in his career, Bellinger took it with a grain of salt and has just kept swinging until a moment like this was sure to come.
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