Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger now has an opportunity to reshape the narrative of his bad, awful, rotten 2021 season at the plate. Bellinger will be an everyday player again for the Dodgers since outfielder AJ Pollock is now sidelined for 2-3 weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury in Saturday’s game against the Giants.
Expectations are low right now for the 2019 NL MVP, but a couple strong September weeks from Bellinger, and a ninth division title, will wipe away some of the stain of his putrid 2021.
Bellinger’s 2021 by the Numbers
For the season, Belli is slashing .169/.245/.311 through Saturday. Injuries have played a role, but he is simply out of synch in the batter’s box right now. In a sea of troubling stats, his 28.0% K-rate is the biggest wave of all.
Once again, opposing pitchers are neutralizing Bellinger with high heat and inside breaking pitches. He’s largely been unable to create contact in those zones. He ranks dead last amongst Dodgers hitters in making contact with pitches inside the zone (77.3%).
All that being said, the Dodgers need Bellinger’s bat to wake up now more than ever. The table is perfectly set for a September Bellinger renaissance. The Dodgers are in a tight division race with their archival and trying to avoid the Wild Card game. He’s in line for a ton of playing time during the final month of the regular season. Plus, he’s essentially replacing one of the Dodgers’ best hitters in Pollock.
Bellinger hitting .300 for the month is unrealistic, but even a few weeks of hitting .240, coupled with his Gold-Glove defense, could help the Dodgers capture their ninth-straight division title. The coming weeks are a chance at redemption for Bellinger.
After months and months of waiting for Bellinger’s bat to show up, the time is right now for the slugger.