Since earning the MVP award in 2019, Cody Bellinger has had a couple of disappointing seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This season, he’s showing some major evidence of improvement.
On Sunday, Bellinger looked like his 2019 self again in the game against the San Diego Padres, hitting not one, but two home runs in the game. This is his 14th career multi-homer game, the most in team history by any player in their 26th season.
In his record-breaking performance, Bellinger drove in four runs. His two home runs matched his total from his first 14 matches of the season. After the game, the two-time All-Star spoke out about getting the burden off his frequently injured shoulder.
Cody Bellinger’s 14 career multi-HR games are the most by any Dodgers player through age 26 in team history pic.twitter.com/9jUe0Wid7b
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 24, 2022
“The only thing you can do is keep going no matter what,″ said Bellinger. “But it’s just that the shoulder is stronger than it was last year and I would say that’s a lot of it.″
Bellinger was primarily a troop player in the latter stages of last season, though he delivered some clutch hits during the Los Angeles Dodgers’ playoff run.
It was clear that he was a shell of the player he was in 2019, when he hit 4 home runs, drove in 115 runs, and led the National League with 351 total bases.
How the match goes
After the Dodgers’ victory in Game 1, the Padres responded with a walk-off victory in Game 2. Fortunately, the Dodgers managed to secure game 3 with the help of Bellinger with a final score of 10-2.
“It’s hard to bet against the talent,″ said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “He’s healthy and looks physically strong. I don’t think it was a hard bet.″
In five innings, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw permitted one run and four hits. He struck out three batters and walked none as he improved to 11-4 at Petco Park.
“I thought my fastball was better today than it has been,″ said Kershaw. “Although obviously five innings isn’t the goal for a starting pitcher.″
On the other hand, Padres pitcher Sean Manaea gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings. The Dodgers took a 7-1 lead in the fifth inning on Bellinger’s second homer.
“We all love Belly,″ said Kershaw. “We all see him grinding every day, good or bad, to try and figure it out. Coming off shoulder surgery and all those things, that’s a challenge for anybody.″
In the third inning, Dodgers baseman Freddie Freeman hit a home run. Prior to Freeman becoming the first left-handed batter to get a hit off of Manaea this season, right fielder Mookie Betts walked, ending his streak of 15 batters.
Cody Bellinger’s four-month-old daughter was in the stands when he hit two home runs against the Padres, securing his team’s victory.
Bellinger had his baby daughter Caiden Carter on December 1, 2021. Bellinger couldn’t put into words how he felt after playing in front of his young daughter.
Bellinger told Sports Net’s Kirsten Watson that his daughter’s appearance was significant to the victory.
“Different feeling you know, a different type of feeling,” said Bellinger. “Inexplicable feeling, when they sit next to the dugout. It just makes it all more special for sure.”