Bellinger pulls off the ultimate ‘Just kidding’

After going a dismal 1-for-10 (.100) with six strikeouts through the first two games of the 2017 National League Division Series, Dodgers rookie phenom and likely 2017 National League Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger pulled off what can only be called the ultimate ‘just kidding’ on Monday night, when he had the game of his young career to power the Dodgers to their fifth NLDS Championship in a decade.

Bellinger not only drove in the first run in Monday night’s eventual 3-1 win of the Arizona Diamondbacks on a fielders choice ground out to his counterpart – Dbacks perennial gold glove first baseman Paul Goldschmidt – to score Dodgers center fielder Chris Taylor from third base in the top of the first inning, the 22-year-old nearby Scottsdale, Arizona native also absolutely crushed an 87-mph Zack Greinke change-up that landed 413 feet in left center field of Chase Field to give the Dodgers a then 2-0 lead.

“The whole series they were throwing me a lot of off-speed and I just had a good feeling he was going to throw a change-up right there, and he did, and I tried to put the barrel to it,” Bellinger said, after the game. “I’ve been having trouble hitting the ball the other way so it felt good.”

After a slow 1-for-10 start, Bellinger heated up quickly on Monday night by driving in two of the Dodgers three runs in game-3 of the NLDS, including this fifth-inning solo home run. (Video capture courtesy of TBS)

Ironically, Bellinger’s home run also put him – yet-again – into the Dodgers history books. With his home run on Monday night, he became the youngest player in franchise history to homer in a postseason game, eclipsing (wait for it…) last year’s NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager by a mere 75 days.

But wait, there’s more!

In addition to his two RBIs, the 6′- 4″ Dodgers first baseman also made what was arguably the best defensive play of the series – if not the season – when he made a catch of a Jeff Mathis’ pop foul ball over the railing of the Dodgers dugout for the final out of the bottom half of the fifth inning. His momentum carried him completely over railing where teammates – including Dodgers manager Dave Roberts – had to catch him, while Bellinger held onto the ball.

“I just tried to get there as early as I could and I’m lucky the ball just kind of tailed back to me just in time and I just jumped and kind of made the play,” said the ever-humble Bellinger.

When every out is huge, Bellinger’s impossible over-the-railing catch of Dbacks catcher Jeff Mathis’ pop foul was immeasurable. (Video capture courtesy of TBS)

Bellinger wasn’t the only hero on Monday night. Without question, Dodgers starting pitcher Yu Darvish had what was arguably the best outing of his professional career when he limited the Dbacks to only one run on two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in his five innings of work. One of those hits was a home run to Dbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso on a hanging slider in the bottom of the fifth inning, which briefly made it a 2-1 game. Although no one knew it at the time, it would be the second of only three hits that the Dodgers stellar pitching staff would allow on the night.

“Yu really stepped up huge for us,” Roberts said. “He was in command and control from the first pitch, working to both sides of the plate. The cutter was working really well, good velocity with the fastball and great command. It was just fun to watch him just have his nerves calm and just compete. He was out there having fun.”

Darvish was absolutely brilliant in his five innings of work on Monday night.
(Photo courtesy of @faridyu)

The Dodgers third run came on a solo home run by Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes in the top of the sixth inning – a 397-footer to straightaway left field – also off of Greinke.

With the series sweep, the Dodgers are off until Saturday night, when they will host either the Chicago Cubs or the Washington Nationals for game-1 of the National League Championship Series. The game will be carried on TBS, with a start time yet to be determined. A well-rested Clayton Kershaw will be on the mound for the Dodgers.


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One Response to “Bellinger pulls off the ultimate ‘Just kidding’”

  1. oldbrooklynfan says:

    Now let’s get back to the NLCS and keep playing this thing one game at a time, as we have been doing all year long.

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