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Dodgers Playoffs: Dave Roberts on Cody Bellinger’s Early Struggles

Here we go again?

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 05: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks back to the field during the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on July 05, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

At the outset of the National League Division Series, Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger finds himself 0-6 with 2 walks in 2 games. Coming off of a regular season where pundits are labeling him the NL MVP, there was hope for a fast start in October.

While 0-6 usually isn’t an issue, if you lose a game in the playoffs it’s apparently question number two from the media.

However, the question isn’t exactly the wrong one to ask when noting Bellinger’s career .164 average in postseason play. Could his struggles be fatigue related? Dodgers manager Dave Roberts shared his thoughts on what he’s seeing with Cody.

I don’t think fatigue is a part of it. I think he’s in a really good place the way his body’s moving… I thought he took really good at-bats [in game 1] and had two good walks. And tonight… Strasburg was good against everybody.

With that we can all agree.

Moreover, he proved to be historically good.

Moving back to Bellinger, Roberts went on to say that he thinks Cody is “seeing the baseball well” and isn’t ready to let a small sample size speak for what’s to come. Nevertheless, a late season regression remains on the minds of Dodgers fans. Over his final 30 games, Belli hit only .248 with 5 home runs.

And now — in that small sample size — we’re seeing a lot more of Cody’s two-part, “bottom’s out” swing. While he’s hardly the source of all poor or unproductive at-bats from LA batters, when “M-V-P” chants follow you around yours tend to be atop the list of problem areas.

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

18 Comments

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  1. I think Cody’s season ended just before the all star break. He truly was the MVP in the first half of the season, but since then there is nothing about his offensive production that screams MVP. I think his confidence is gone.

    • You are 100% correct. The league has adjusted, now it is Cody’s turn to adjust. They are pitching him inside, he needs to back off the plate…

        • When are they going to learn that to beat a fastball hitting team, just throw them curveballs-see Seager strike out after hitting all of hudson’s Fast balls

  2. An MVP will make adjustments and using their superior MVP skills will adapt and have success. Stop giving all of the credit to the opponent. He was average for the last half of the season against average pitching. He simply has flaws which are taken advantage of by pitchers with quality skills. He is NOT an MVP. Nor is Roberts and his participation award, vanilla emotion coaching philosophy a playoff difference making coach.

  3. Bells pops up again with runners on base in the 9th…still taking gigantic swings, still batting 4th…what a waste….how about using another swing and putting the ball in play? Hitting .164 in the postseason should put him in the bottom of the order. Give Muncy his slot. Max deserves it!
    Go Dodgers!

    • In the playoffs you face ELITE pitching, hello Mister Strasburg and Scherzer! Making contact moving runners over scoring with RISP. all become vitally important. Roberts should have learned that in their last two WS failures.
      Kershaw is No Longer an Elite pitcher. He is a Very good pitcher with an era over 3. When you are battling Elite Pitchers allowing 3 runs in a few innings is not going to get you the win…As he demonstrated.
      The idea of using Kershaw in the critical 5th game is ridiculous and a losing strategy. This is the same argument as the Jansen argument! Go in actual present performance quit reading their past resumes. That will make you lose the series.
      With a big lead Roberts should have played May in the first game as he is a very young rookie and had no playoff experience. That would have given him room to make a mistake and have some jitters.
      Roberts has proven to be an incompetent manager when it comes to pitching situations and he is obviously afraid to make any changes that anger his top veteran personalities in Kershaw and Jansen.
      Maddon in 2020 after the Nats blow the Dodgers out of the series….

      • I When are they going to learn that to beat a fastball hitting team, just throw them curveballs-see Seager strike out after hitting all of hudson’s Fast balls

  4. No way this guy is MVP for 1 month of great hitting then below average. Think his head got inflated and instead of measured bat swings and hitting to all parts of the field only swung for the fences. Think he bunted maybe twice all season to beat the shift, don’t know if thats on Belli or that of management but poor management is the biggest problem on this team. This team only swings for the fences no matter what the situation is.

  5. Dodgers fans should come to realization by now that Cody Bellinger is nothing more than a “below average contact hitter”. He is just another Adam Dunn, who hits for power, with low batting average. The most frustrating thing about Bellinger is every time during clutch situation playing at Dodgers stadium, with fans chanting “Cody, Cody” and “MVP, MVP” (this year), never ONCE has he ever come through with a clutch hit. And the playoffs, forget it. People can say all they want about him winning the NLCS MVP last year, but it was Puig that came up with the big homerun which won the 7th game for the Dodgers. Time and time again, Bellinger disappoints Dodgers fans on games when they count the most. What a BUST.

  6. Anyone who has played baseball, watch Cody stepping in the bucket or first base with his front foot and his front shoulder flying open. He can’t hit the outside pitch and loses power doing it this way. Why aren’t the Dodgers coaches and video people making him aware of it

    • The Dodgers are such a mystery to me. No matter who the coaches are it’s always the same. Obvious things go unnoticed and don’t get corrected until it’s too late IF EVER. Like Darvish tipping, Honeycutt was clueless. Bellingers looked sloppy for a whole half season but these so called brilliant coaches still haven’t fixed it

  7. One of the post game analysts (a pitcher who’s name escapes me) on MLB said of Bellinger, “You can put the slider outside to him and get him, or a breaking ball outside and get him, or even a fastball with some movement out there. He’s just swinging at everything out there.”

    If the announcers and analysts see holes in his swing, I suggest his weaknesses are common knowledge in every pitching coach’s notes.

    Kershaw has never been a post season clutch guy. Maybe all his starts from now on should involve an “opener”. let Kershaw pitch in a practice area and then he comes out maybe half-way through the second inning. Sure he uses up some of his pitch count, but hopefully he gets his BP stuff out of the way were it can’t hurt the club.

  8. Bellinger is not a big-time player. He doesn’t produce in big-time situations. When it’s time to rise to the occasion, Belly … flops.

  9. I agree with Dave. Bellinger is overrated, he can’t hit above average pitching, let alone “Elite Pitching “. He’s a swinger, not a hitter.
    Too many swings and misses I think Beatty is a better hitter , he just needs more time on the field.

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