Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger had a strong start to the season, with a .915 OPS in his first 15 games. It’s basically been all downhill since then, with a batting line of .188/.251/.353 (.604 OPS) since April 24. It’s been even worse lately, as Bellinger is batting .125/.234/.214 (.449 OPS) in his last 18 games dating back to August 14.
Joey Gallo has only been a Dodger for a little over a month, but he and Bellinger are longtime friends. The two outfielders are both represented by Scott Boras, and Gallo has said Bellinger was the first person he reached out to when he found out he was being traded to Los Angeles.
So it’s no surprise that Gallo is in Bellinger’s corner. Asked about Cody’s struggles after Tuesday night’s game, Gallo said:
“I think he’s been taking some pretty good swings. He’s taking walks, and that’s huge. If you get on base, you can contribute more. It’s not always about — and I’m probably not the best guy to say it — how many hits you got, but taking three walks the other day, he’s an elite center-fielder who brings versatility. I mean, he’s a stud, you know? And just because you’re not hitting well doesn’t mean you’re not contributing anything to the team.”
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) September 7, 2022
Gallo is right about a lot of things here. Bellinger’s defense is immensely valuable, and when Bellinger is taking walks, he can contribute to the team even if he’s struggling to hit. But when you’re not a threat in the batter’s box, it’s hard to take enough walks to be a net positive on the offensive side, as Bellinger’s .262 on-base percentage demonstrates.
It’s great that Belli’s teammates have his back, because confidence is a huge part of breaking out of a slump. But if Cody can’t figure something out offensively in the next four weeks, his defense probably won’t be enough to keep him in the starting lineup in October.
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