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.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) October 5, 2019
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.
Stephen Strasburg, Disgusting 89mph Changeup (release/spin axis). ? pic.twitter.com/uQW58cLfq6
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 5, 2019
Moreover, he proved to be historically good.
Stephen Strasburg is the first player in @MLB postseason history to record 3 10-strikeout games in his first 5 postseason appearances.
Tonight is Strasburg's 5th postseason game. pic.twitter.com/rGXB2HHd2l
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 5, 2019
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.