Dodgers Nation will be writing about ‘Bellinger Bombs’. The Dodgers have one of the best young power hitters in the game under contract for the foreseeable future. Writers like Sam Miller have asked the question ‘What if Cody Bellinger is going to break the all-time home run record’. As the career home runs continue to pile up, we will examine each one in greater detail. We will allow you; the fan, to savor each one as they should be. Because what’s more fun than a home run? (You can look back at our first installment here).
It had been ten calendar days since Cody Bellinger had left the yard. Easter Sunday seems a long way in the rear view. The Dodgers are a struggling team at 4-7, and you look at the statistics to see their best power hitter is stuck on an ugly ‘1’ in the long-ball department. Bellinger has been swinging the bat well – but people seem to measure his success in power. He’s earned that reputation and it will come with the territory. On Friday the 13th, it felt like it was time for a payoff.
The Home Run
This swing impressed me because it wasn’t a great hitter’s pitch. You can see Bellinger is clearly tied up inside with this pitch. It’s on his hands and yet he has the ability to get his hands inside the ball and drive it out pretty easily to Kirk Gibson land. A guy that can produce swings like this is going to make me complete a lot of posts like this. This was career home run number 41.
It was his second career home run off Zach Greinke. The blast was his 20th to right field (it landed in the opponent’s pen). This was his 21st at Dodger Stadium, and 28th off right-handed pitching. He’s hit 32 home runs while in the lineup as a first baseman. Bellinger has hit seven long ones as a left fielder, and two when written in the lineup as the right fielder.
How Bellinger’s Home Run Impacted The Game
The Dodgers felt dead in the water trailing 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs. Greinke had settled in to retire 15 of 16 hitters after a rocky first inning. The Dodgers were a 6% chance at winning this game before Bellinger hit the home run. After the home run, they moved to 11%. Aside from Chase Utley’s knock off the second base bag, it was the most impactful offensive play of the ballgame for the Dodgers. It also seemed to energize a weary and sleepy crowd, like only a Bellinger home run can.
Of course – the Dodgers did not win this game. It seemed to weaken Greinke enough to give them an opening, and knock him out of the game an inning later. But in this game the biggest home run was the one I’m not writing about. Bellinger flew out to the track in center off Archie Bradley. Had that ball left the yard, the Dodgers probably find a way to win the game.
Our victim on Friday the 13th was Zach Greinke. The former Dodger has had a long and decorated career. He picked up his 172nd win in this game, and did so after looking like he hurt himself in a rocky first inning. It was the 245th home run that Greinke has allowed in his career. This was the second time that Bellinger had dialed long distance on Greinke, now 34 years old. Much was made of his declining velocity – but he found a way to pitch effectively through it against the Dodgers in this game. Bellinger also singled off Greinke in the first inning.
Exit Velocity, Distance, Pitch Data, and Angle
88.2mph Four-seam Fastball
RHP Zack Greinke (4)
— Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) April 14, 2018
The blast reached triple digits off the bat, with an exit velocity of 100 miles per hour. It was his longest home run in terms of distance in 2018, checking in at 391 feet.
As mentioned before – it was a 88.2 MPH Four-seam fastball from Greinke – a pitch that has seen him lose speed on recently. This was a taylor-made pitch for Bellinger to hit out, except it was in on him. Greinke knew what he was doing in that if he was going to try to sneak a fastball past the monster, he had to try to tie him up inside. He almost was able to do it, but as our video evidence shows; the hitter somehow won the battle. This ball had a launch angle of 36 degrees at it’s apex, so it was of the arching parabola variety in terms of that (if you were at the park you probably felt like it went way up in the air).
Without a 400-foot shot on the board yet this year, we can’t say that Bellinger has hit a true moonshot yet. Joe Davis spoke of it being one, but we are still waiting for one of those Bellinger homers that makes headlines. And it will come.
Overall Bellinger-Bomb Prominence Score
This was an enjoyable home run because it was off a decent pitcher who was in a groove. The crowd needed a reason to get excited at home on a Friday night, and it had been some time since Bellinger had left the yard. Many lesser hitters are already at three or four home runs, so to see Bellinger sitting on just one was disconcerting. That is the case no longer. This was not a milestone homer in his career and although it turned some momentum around in the game, it will not go down as one of the most memorable he ever hit. It doesn’t mean we can’t savor it a little though before we put it into the history books forever.
Dodgers’ Nation Prominence HR Score: 6.0
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