Remember the really bad season Cody Bellinger had in 2021? Neither do I.
The 2021 campaign was a forgettable one for Bellinger. He had offseason surgery and missed most of spring training. Then a week into the season he injured his leg and missed a solid chunk of the year. He’d go on to have other IL stints during the season as well. On top of all that, he had the worst season of his big-league career as he struggled at the plate.
None of that matters anymore, because yet again Bellinger delivered in the clutch for the Dodgers when it mattered most.
“It wasn’t about mechanics, it was just about a fight,” manager Dave Roberts said following the game. “It was me versus you, Cody versus Doval, who’s got tremendous stuff, and he got a slider that backed up and stayed through the middle of the field and got a huge hit.”
With the game tied at one in the ninth inning of a winner-take-all game against the Giants, Bellinger drove in the go-ahead run.
If it seems like Bellinger comes up in the clutch a lot during the postseason.... well, it’s because he does. Not only has Bellinger delivered in the biggest moments for LA, he’s done it more than any other player in major-league baseball history.
Tonight was the 5th time in his career Cody Bellinger of the @Dodgers delivered the game-winning RBI in a series-clinching victory (RBI that put team ahead to stay).— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) October 15, 2021
That's the most by any player in MLB postseason history.
Cody Bellinger's RBI single was his 3rd career go-ahead hit in the 9th inning or later of a postseason game.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 15, 2021
That ties Carlos Correa, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew and Pete Rose for most in MLB history. pic.twitter.com/EwHhcNGgvm
Doval has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the last month. He was named the National League Reliever of the Month for September. With some of the nastiest pitches on the Giants, Bellinger knew exactly what he would be getting.
“I saw well the first few pitches, missed my pitches, and at that moment with JT on second just tried to keep the momentum going and literally just tried to stay simple and stay within myself,” Bellinger said. “I saw that ball pretty well and just tried to stay simple with it.”
Wanting to make contact against the flame-thrower, Bellinger choked up on the bat, which he had also done earlier in the game.
“I haven’t really worked on it, just knew that those guys threw hard and just staying simple and staying within myself and my approach,” he said. “I don’t practice it, but I think in the moment things just happen and it makes sense.”
As I mentioned earlier, Bellinger has delivered in the clutch for the Dodgers multiple times. He hit the go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the NLCS last season. He hit the go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the 2018 NLCS against the Brewers. It doesn’t matter the moment, it’s never too big for Bellinger.
“You don’t think about being that guy,” Bellinger said. “When the opportunity is there and the moment is there, you just try to stay simple and stay within yourself. Just extremely blessed to be able to be in the moment and just stay within myself and just try and get the job done.”
Time and time again, Bellinger has shown up when needed most for the Dodgers. You can erase those 2021 numbers, because Bellinger is exactly who you want at the plate when the spotlight is the brightest.