Cody Bellinger is back in today’s lineup after getting two games off to “reset,” as Dodgers manager Dave Roberts put it. With Corbin Burnes on the mound for Milwaukee, Bellinger might have preferred a three-game reset, but the Dodgers face tough Marlins lefty Jesus Luzardo tomorrow, so it’s not like things are going to get much easier.
Bellinger was benched after an 0-for-4 performance on Monday that dropped his season OPS to .661. He’s shown signs of life at times this season, but he has been unable to put together any lengthy stretch of dominance at the plate. For a guy who hit 39 homers in his Rookie of the Year season in 2017 and 47 homers in his MVP season in 2019, it has mostly been Bellinger defense in center field that has kept him in the lineup this season.
Bellinger has been better this year than in 2021, but multiple injuries interrupted last season and prevented him from ever getting on track. Bellinger has been healthy this year, which makes his 80 OPS+ (20 percent worse than league average) just unfathomable.
It’s pretty frustrating for Bellinger, too, as Fabian Ardaya reports in The Athletic.
“The hardest part, I think, is knowing what’s in there and not being able to really just not even prove it to anyone, but prove it to myself,” Bellinger said Tuesday after the benching. “I know I can do it. But that’s where you put too much pressure on yourself. I want to just go out like I’ve done in the past. I went out and just went and played the game to win, and everything takes care of itself.”
Bellinger describes his issues as “internal,” either worrying about his current slump or thinking too much about his current hot streak.
“It’s just getting the pitch I want to hit and knowing what I have done with it and can do with that pitch is the thing I’ve felt this year,” Bellinger said. “I’ve had it. It’s just finding that consistency factor.
“Maybe when I’m starting to have that success, I want more and more and more and you want it more, and then it doesn’t happen as opposed to just playing the game, doing what I can to win.”
The Dodgers have 46 games left in the regular season, and Roberts says he isn’t considering a full-time platoon for Bellinger. The goal is to help Bellinger get to a point where he can help the team win in October. Did the reset help? We probably won’t know for sure for a while, but we’ll get our first glimpses today.
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