By Chris Camello (Chris_Camello)
(photo credit: UPI)
LOS ANGELES, CA — With runners at the corners in the bottom of the first inning, Cody Bellinger stepped in to face St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha. It was yet another RBI opportunity for Bellinger.
Bellinger crushed a fastball into the Loge Level seats in right field to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. That moon shot was the epitome of a “Belli-Bomb,” his 37th of the year and 101st of his career.
What’s interesting was how business-like Bellinger was when talking about that iconic homer.
“Just trying to hit the ball in the air, in the outfield,” Bellinger said. “Get Joc [Pederson] home from third. That was my only objective right there. I hit it well.”
He’s hit a lot of baseballs well this season with a .325 batting average, 37 home runs, 88 RBIs, and a staggering 1.101 OPS. He’s currently in a two-man NL MVP race with reigning Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich. This memorable season has even surprised Bellinger himself. He didn’t expect to be this good in his third major league season.
“I didn’t expect to do this coming into this year,” Bellinger recently told ESPN. “I was hitting the ball well in spring training, just trying to carry it into the regular season, and just trying to keep it rolling for as long as I can right now.”
This year has been a far cry from where he was at in 2018. After winning Rookie of the Year in 2017, Bellinger seemed to have hit the infamous “sophomore slump,” struggling with his consistency and excessive strikeouts.
However, he’s broken out to be one of the game’s brightest stars while leading one of the league’s best teams to a coveted World Series championship. While Bellinger may be surprised at his season, but given his talent, it was never a question of “if” but “when.”