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Cody Bellinger Bombs: Chronicling Home Run 45

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 the collection here). 

Cody Bellinger is the second worst in baseball on zone-contact percentage, they said. He’s not hitting for enough power, they all said. Some fans even had the young superstar postmarked for AAA to get straightened out. And then the thunder came. With one quick, powerful cut of his Louisville Slugger; all was right with the world again. Well, almost.

Bellinger bombs are a dish best served for when the Dodgers win. The thing is – the last three times he’s done so – the Dodgers have not won the game. This should not tarnish the greatest act in baseball, nor should it if it occurs against the Miami Marlins. A home run is a home run, and it’s always special. Bellinger is still finding his way, even if the game has sped up for him a bit of late. On Monday evening in the ninth inning, it slowed down for just a split second. And Cody Bellinger did what Cody Bellinger does.

The Home Run

This game took on a sluggish pace for the Dodgers offense. The lone run of the game for Los Angeles came on a Yasiel Puig home run in the seventh inning. Marlins closer Brad Ziegler was on for the easy save with a 4-1 lead, and he probably figured it would be a turbulence free night.

Evidently, the trend of getting Bellinger out with power stuff up in the zone has bled into this series. Of course, one problem with Ziegler is he doesn’t have ‘power stuff’. He’s Bellinger’s type, in every sense of the word.

All the chemistry lined up to produce Bellinger’s longest home run of 2018. It landed in a part of Marlins Park that you usually only reach in video games. An area that used to be Giancarlo Stanton territory. To update the tally: The blast was his fourth of his career in South Beach, and his 22nd to occur in a road park. This was the fourth to dead center in his young career. It was the first time he’s christened Ziegler with his prodigious power. He moved into 65th place on the Dodgers all-time career home run list. Career home run 45 leaves the likes of Rafael Furcal and Manny Ramirez in the rear view mirror forever, among others.

How Bellinger’s Home Run Impacted The Game

The stagnant Los Angeles offense and subpar effort from the bullpen put them in a 4-1 hole. When Bellinger stepped to the plate, Miami was leading 4-1 and had a 99 percent win expectancy. Many of you reading this had probably already tuned out – that’s the normal reaction when your team has a one percent chance to win a game. The deficit felt insurmountable; and it was. But alas for those of us that stuck around to see the conclusion of the Dodgers losing their fifth straight, a small reward was given.

Bellinger’s home run swung the game two percent, lowering Miami’s win expectancy to *only* 97 percent. By the time I started to tell my father the old line about if we can just get a guy or two on base, the game was over. The home run made it a 4-2 score which held up as our final. This was not a high-leverage home run, as pretty as it was.

The Victim

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to bow our heads for Brad Gregory Ziegler. Major league veteran of 11 years and four teams. Ziegler has been a really nice reliever over the course of his career until the “Marlin Effect” took hold. He mostly relies on guile and a funky delivery these days to get by.

Ziegler is not a guy who gives up a ton of gopher balls – he’s allowed just 27 in 661 career innings. Last night was his 101st career save. Although at age 38 and the elder-statesman of the Marlins pen, Ziegler was a nice pelt for Bellinger to put on his wall.

Exit Velocity, Distance, Pitch Data, and Angle

There has been a lot of speculation lately that the game has ‘sped up’ on Bellinger. The last thing Ziegler probably should have done is throw him a 77 mile per hour change-up. At the crack of the bat, there was no doubt left. This ball was going a long way, and it cleared the shrubbery in dead center at Marlins Park.

This was the longest home run of Bellinger’s 2018 season, a true moon-shot at 443 feet. This almost reached the sacred 110 MPH exit velocity – checking in at 108 – which is still scalding off the bat. The launch-angle was just 24 feet, so this ball was a rapier laser that did not get that high off the ground. Bellinger remarked after the game that it was as hard as he can ever remember hitting a ball, and he was being honest. To hit a baseball that far off a 77 MPH pitch means that the hitter supplied all the power. This was an impressive home run.

Overall Bellinger-Bomb Prominence Score

Just over 6,000 fans were accounted for yesterday in paid attendance. It’s probable a few of them got a jump on traffic and left early, after all it is Miami. The venue and the fact that it was a loss, coupled with a low leverage situation; eats away at some of the prominence score that this moonshot could have finished with.

Nevertheless, Bellinger is on a nice round (odd) number of 45 now. In spite of this one causing me to say ‘wow’ – you might not have. We are quite stingy with our high scores, but this blast deserves more than just an average mark. If only this had come in a win, or given the Dodgers the lead.

Dodgers’ Nation Prominence HR Score: 7.5

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Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

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  1. The Astro’s exploited the major hole in Bellinger’s swing and the rest of the league has caught on. He will most likely hit between 15-20 this year which is nothing since the Dodgers don’t have the coaching to help. Turner Ward was a garbage player and it’s translated into his coaching ability.

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