Connect with us

News

How a text from Dad helped turn Cody Bellinger into an October hero

Published

on

Clay Bellinger sat in Section 122 at Globe Life Field alongside his wife Sunday when Cody Bellinger came to bat with the score tied in the bottom of the seventh. Clay began to tell himself the same thing he tells himself every time his son digs into the batter’s box.

Let’s have a moment. Let’s have a moment. Let’s have a moment.

Then the moment came. The younger Bellinger turned on a fastball out over the plate, sent it 400 feet to right field and admired the drive in a manner befitting the accomplishment. His majestic home run gave the Los Angeles Dodgers their first lead and served as the decisive run in the 4-3 victory that sealed Game 7 of the National League Championship Series and punctuated an improbable comeback.

Throughout the summer, Clay watched as Cody struggled to duplicate the success of his MVP season in 2019. He batted only .239/.333/.455, one of several superstars who struggled through an unconventional season that consisted of empty stadiums without the use of in-game video and only a 60-game schedule.

Cody began the year adjusting to a slightly different setup, a personal preference that he suggested to the Dodgers’ hitting coaches during the three-month shutdown. As the season progressed, Clay kept hearing Cody express how comfortable he felt, even while positive results remained elusive. Clay, a utility player who won two World Series rings with the New York Yankees, mostly backed off. Then, after the Atlanta Braves took a commanding 3-1 series lead, he sent Cody a text. He felt his son was suddenly becoming too passive within the strike zone.

“Hitting’s the hardest thing to do in sports, and when you’re taking one swing an at-bat, it’s super hard,” Clay explained. “I told him, ‘Get back to being aggressive the way you are. And if you get to two strikes, take that aggressive swing.'”

Clay started liking the quality of the at-bats over the next few days and watched it crescendo in Game 7. In the second inning, he watched Cody turn on a two-strike fastball low and inside — the type of pitch that gave him fits all year — and scorch a 107 mph line drive directly into the glove of Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. He followed by working back-to-back walks, the second on a full count.

Then, against Braves reliever Chris Martin in the seventh, Bellinger reached a 2-2 count. He fouled off a 95 mph sinker away and a 95 mph sinker inside, fouled off a 90 mph cutter off the plate, then got his pitch — another sinker, middle up — and didn’t miss it. His home run, which came two years after a similar one, put him alongside Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra as the only players with a go-ahead homer in multiple Game 7s.

Cody Bellinger launches a solo home run to right field, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 lead.

Now, with the Tampa Bay Rays on deck and four wins separating this franchise from its first World Series title since the days of Kirk Gibson, the question must be asked: Have the Dodgers finally unlocked Cody Bellinger?

“We get him going,” Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts said, “that is a sight to see.”

Bellinger’s home run was only his fifth hit in 25 at-bats this series, but that line doesn’t come close to capturing his performance last week. Throughout the series, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noticed Bellinger and Corey Seager — the NLCS MVP after producing a 1.230 OPS in seven games — begin to fully grasp the importance of controlling the strike zone. Bellinger drew six walks in the series and chased 19.4% of pitches outside the strike zone, an improvement from his 28% chase rate from the regular season. His average exit velocity was 95 mph, which showed up in a lot of hard outs.

There was a 108 mph ground out in the second inning of Game 1, a 114 mph triple in the ninth inning of Game 2 and a 410-foot fly out to straightaway center field in the ninth inning of Game 4, which remained in play only because of howling winds that reached 15 mph.

Maybe Bellinger, a .178/.234/.326 hitter in 36 postseason games entering the year, has found his MVP form at the right time.

Maybe, like Seager, he has learned to slow down the game in October.

Maybe his best is yet to come.

“Man,” Clay said, “I hope so. That’s all you can hope for.”

Source link

Entertainment

Lil Wayne & Denise Bidot Are Officially Back Together Following Brief Breakup During The Presidential Election Lil Wayne & Denise Bidot Are Officially Back Together Following Brief Breakup During The Presidential Election
Entertainment1 day ago

Lil Wayne & Denise Bidot Are Officially Back Together Following Brief Breakup During The Presidential Election

Roommates, celebrity relationships are often filled with ups and downs that play out for the public to see—and that also...

Netflix To Start Declaring Its True UK Revenue Amid Controversy Over Its Low Tax Bill Netflix To Start Declaring Its True UK Revenue Amid Controversy Over Its Low Tax Bill
Entertainment3 days ago

Netflix To Start Declaring Its True UK Revenue Amid Controversy Over Its Low Tax Bill

Netflix has revealed that it plans to start declaring its true UK revenue amid growing political pressure on the streamer...

Donald Trump Is Still Tweeting False Information Alleging Voter Fraud Donald Trump Is Still Tweeting False Information Alleging Voter Fraud
Entertainment3 days ago

Donald Trump Is Still Tweeting False Information Alleging Voter Fraud

While most of us have moved on from the election, it seems like Donald Trump is still tweeting out false...

Barack Obama Gives Drake The Greenlight To Portray Him In Future Biopic Barack Obama Gives Drake The Greenlight To Portray Him In Future Biopic
Entertainment3 days ago

Barack Obama Gives Drake The Greenlight To Portray Him In Future Biopic

Barack Obama didn’t exactly say it was “God’s Plan” to have Drake portray him in a biopic. But he gave...

‘Act of kindness’: Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds give 0,000 to help at-risk youth in Canada ‘Act of kindness’: Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds give 0,000 to help at-risk youth in Canada
Entertainment3 days ago

‘Act of kindness’: Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds give $500,000 to help at-risk youth in Canada

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are giving back as the holiday season kicks off, which has inspired some other celebrities...

Jay Cutler Hangs Out With Fired ‘Very Cavallari’ Star Shannon Ford Jay Cutler Hangs Out With Fired ‘Very Cavallari’ Star Shannon Ford
Entertainment3 days ago

Jay Cutler Hangs Out With Fired ‘Very Cavallari’ Star Shannon Ford

Jay Cutler had an interesting drinking buddy over Thanksgiving weekend — the former quarterback hung out with Shannon Ford, who...

Petition To Axe Amber Heard From ‘Aquaman 2’ Receives Staggering 1.5M Signatures Petition To Axe Amber Heard From ‘Aquaman 2’ Receives Staggering 1.5M Signatures
Entertainment3 days ago

Petition To Axe Amber Heard From ‘Aquaman 2’ Receives Staggering 1.5M Signatures

An online petition urging studio personnel to axe Amber Heard from the upcoming Aquaman sequel has received more than 1.5...

Sports

Best and worst contracts of NBA free agency 2020: Clippers, Lakers find frontcourt bargains Best and worst contracts of NBA free agency 2020: Clippers, Lakers find frontcourt bargains
NBA5 days ago

Best and worst contracts of NBA free agency 2020: Clippers, Lakers find frontcourt bargains

NBA free agency started at 6 p.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 20. By the end of the weekend, nearly 90...

NBA free agency winners and losers: Lakers reload, Gordon Hayward gets paid and Pistons go big NBA free agency winners and losers: Lakers reload, Gordon Hayward gets paid and Pistons go big
NBA1 week ago

NBA free agency winners and losers: Lakers reload, Gordon Hayward gets paid and Pistons go big

This year’s NBA free agency period started with a slow drip of deals before turning into a steady stream of signings from...

NBA Draft 2020 team grades: Warriors draw aces; Hornets, Cavaliers produce some questionable answers NBA Draft 2020 team grades: Warriors draw aces; Hornets, Cavaliers produce some questionable answers
NBA2 weeks ago

NBA Draft 2020 team grades: Warriors draw aces; Hornets, Cavaliers produce some questionable answers

We have firmly established the 2020 NBA Draft will not be one of the most productive in the league’s history...

Giannis Antetokounmpo on Bucks future: It depends on what decisions they make Giannis Antetokounmpo on Bucks future: It depends on what decisions they make
NBA2 weeks ago

Giannis Antetokounmpo on Bucks future: It depends on what decisions they make

Giannis Antetokounmpo says his future with the Bucks depends on what decisions the team makes. The Bucks, who are eyeing a...

NBA trade rumors: Lakers expected to finalize deal for Thunder’s Dennis Schroder, per report NBA trade rumors: Lakers expected to finalize deal for Thunder’s Dennis Schroder, per report
NBA2 weeks ago

NBA trade rumors: Lakers expected to finalize deal for Thunder’s Dennis Schroder, per report

The Lakers aren’t resting on their laurels. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the defending champs are expected to finalize a deal...

James Harden trade rumors: Rockets star reportedly contemplating reunion with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn James Harden trade rumors: Rockets star reportedly contemplating reunion with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn
NBA2 weeks ago

James Harden trade rumors: Rockets star reportedly contemplating reunion with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn

James Harden is reportedly thinking about a reunion with Kevin Durant. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, playing with KD and...

Nets playing for NBA championship, insists Steve Nash Nets playing for NBA championship, insists Steve Nash
NBA3 weeks ago

Nets playing for NBA championship, insists Steve Nash

Nets head coach Steve Nash said the franchise is “playing for a championship” as he prepares for his first season...