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Dodgers: Roberts Somewhat Critical of Cody Bellinger’s Early Season Struggles



The saga of a struggling Cody Bellinger is entering its third full week of the Dodgers’ new season. Understandably, this was hardly the follow up in mind for the reigning NL MVP who has been tooling with his swing since the early goings of summer camp.

On Wednesday, Dave Roberts seemed to hit something of a boiling point in being asked about the struggles of LA batters through 18 games. However, he focused some time specifically on Cody. 

Here’s more from Dave.

When he’s right mechanically… there’s many pitches that he’s not getting to this year that he should — and that he has, and that he will. When you’re not mechanically right, you miss pitches and then they start to expand, and then at times you chase. … but Cody’s working every day and I have no doubt that he’ll get out of it.

It seems like by midstream of thought, Roberts identified that he was being a little more critical than fans are used to seeing him be. From that point, he transitioned to more of a general philosophy in terms of pitchers’ approaches to struggling batters. Still, friend of the show Bill Plunkett wasn’t going to walk away from the greater story on Cody’s 2020 issues, so he asked, “has he been right at any point this season?” Dave reluctantly answered.

Well… you know… he’s… No, I don’t think — he’s getting there, but I don’t think that he’s felt locked in. I think he’s seeing the ball considerably better. I think at times he feels really good about where his swing is at and at times he doesn’t. It’s a work in progress right now.

The overall feel of the response gives a vibe of a team searching for answers for their star slugger.

In fact, Bellinger has addressed his struggles at different times, but those responses have felt premature. Before the first game of the season, he admitted that he shut down his Twitter account after all the blowback surrounding his swing/stance changes in summer camp. Later, after a much needed day on the bench in Arizona, he connected on home runs in back to back games and declared himself back to normal. Since that time he’s batted under .180 and has grounded into 3 double plays.

All in all, he’s a guy who’s searching and struggling. Hopefully, like Doc said, he can get there.

Dave Roberts Updates on Corey Seager, Talks Bellinger in Short Interview with Media

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NEXT: Corey Seager Progresses From Injury, Still Held Out of Starting Lineup

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.

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  1. At times, Bellinger takes some really ugly swings — ugly even for a non-hitting pitcher. It appears that he is a 100% guess hitter, both pitch type and location. I would love to see the Dodgers move him off the plate about six inches and have him concentrate on hitting the ball up the middle. He has the power to hit home runs to any part of the field, so break him from the pull everything mentality.

  2. As usual I agree with SoCalBum Bellinger tries to pull everything. It makes me crazy to watch him and other Dodger hitters with radical shifts on and no defense on one side of the diamond and they continue to try to pull the ball! Its incredibly ignorant and selfish when you can hit the ball the other way and get on base.
    If a hitter would simply hit the ball the other way enough times it would stop teams from putting on such radical shifts.
    Roberts last year said that some players couldn’t hit the other way which to me is ludicrous. I played baseball up to Community College and you know how to change your stance and swing. I saw Bellinger the other night take an outside pitch and still try to pull it when slapping it down the line would have given him a double. Insane… If you watch Betts he hits to all fields as does Seager. It is actually much simpler to go with the ball when its on the outside.

  3. I agree with Tmax. In addition, with nobody on the left side of the infield when Bellinger is up, he should lay down a bunt or just slap it down the third base line. If he does that on several at bats, that will put an end to the radical shifts. Many times, Bellinger grounds what would be a base hit through the right side of the infield, but the extra infielder is in short left field and throws him out at first.

  4. I agree with these guys. I think Roberts should sit Bellybomb for a game or two maybe that will light a fire in his pants and get him going. Before the season started it looked like Bellinger was back to his old form. But now the season is 18 games in and he really looks terrible. These guys should know how to hit to all fields and not necessarily homers. The game is about strategy not just hitting a home run every time you come up to bat. I think there may be something else wrong with Bellibomb, I don’t exactly know what but there is, He doesn’t look the same, He doesn’t seem to have the speed (running)he had last year, he doesn’t seem to have the arm he had last year and his eye judgment seems a bit off. Putting all this together it could be he has a physical problem and like most players, they don’t mention it to anyone so they hurt the team and themselves. Still, they win & lose as a team. There are other problems with the team and it shows. Almost everyone isn’t doing what is usually natural to them. I pray they wake up soon and do better.

  5. It is quite obvious that Cody stands as close to the plate as the chalk lines allow him and the opposing pitcher’s know this and pitch him inside to keep him from getting the barrel of the bat on the ball causing weak pop-ups. He needs to stand in the middle of the box so that he can unload on the inside pitch. The entire team seems to be hitting a lot of pop-ups which may be caused by the hitting coach.

    • I definitely agree with all of you guys on Bellinger but you should add Pederson and Muncy too!!
      They are doing the dame damn thing. Trying to hit homeruns and pulling the ball rather than hit to the opposite field!!!! they hit batting practice, don’t they? This is getting RIDICULOUS!!!! Where are the batting coaches?

  6. Roberts response to Bellinger’s weak start has been to move him from the 4 spot to the 3 spot. That makes no sense. Drop him to the 6 spot, with Muncy in the 7 spot until they start hitting It’s not punishment. It’s recognition of reality. Guys who hit less than 200 should not be at the too of the order. Roberts still can’t figure out that Betts needs to be in the leadoff spot all the time, where his manufactured hits will generate runs. Why can’t he figure this out? The Dodgers haven’t had a real lead guy for a couple decades. When they finally get the best in baseball, Roberts refuses to use him properly. Here’s a batting order that works until Bellinger and Muncy start hitting:

    Betts
    Pederson or Pollack or Taylor
    Turner
    Seager
    Pederson or Pollack or Taylor
    Bellinger
    Muncy
    Pederson or Taylor or Rios or Hernandez
    Barnes or Smith

  7. I feel the Dodgers philosophy of hitting HRs is the problem and Belli is the main example. 1st month of last year he WAS hitting to all fields and even bunted a cpl times to beat the shift. Then he started trying to hit a HR every AB. He was hitting more HRs but his avg dropped from 440 to 260. The Dodgers are teaching the elevated swing which in my opinion makes the ball harder to hit and unless you make solid contact you hit a pop-up or soft fly ball or SO. You see this in most of the Dodgers swings. Totally agree that if your given the left side of the infield bunt the ball. Problem is most players have an ego that prohibits this. Baseball is a team s[ort and they need to play like that. Lastly the real main problem is Roberts. He has no idea how to manufacture a run. Get rid of the bum.

  8. I agree that they are always trying to lift the ball. Lay down bunts on the over shifts. Hit the other way. If they are not hitting HRS they don’t score. As far as Bellinger, he had a lousy second half last year and didn’t deserve the MVP. He wasn’t consistent for the whole season. This a continuation of the second half. Use you speed and spray the ball all over! Be like Yellich .

  9. My Grandson can hit the ball to all fields , and he is only 14 . Good coaches can do that for a hitter . Back up in the box a little , and flex a little , my wife says you are not relaxed you are to erect , loosen up Belli . Right now he couldn’t hit the ocean if he fell out of a boat , Muncy also is having problems . Rios at first base , and for God’s sake put Mookie leading off .

  10. Move Bellinger off the plate a little! Every catcher sets up middle/inside on him which ends up being very inside on him but still over the plate. He either takes for a strike or gets jammed.

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