The Los Angeles Dodgers concluded their four-game series against the Chicago Cubs on a strong note, coming away with a 3-2 victory in Sunday’s finale at Dodger Stadium.
With the win, Los Angeles captured their fourth win in seven matchups against Chicago this season. Three of those came to fruition this past weekend, including one in the series opener on Thursday.
An intriguing pitching matchup between southpaws Clayton Kershaw and Jon Lester garnered the most attention, but it was Cody Bellinger who stole the headlines with another prolific offensive performance.
The 23-year-old slugged home runs Nos. 21 and 22 in the contest, both coming against left-handers in Lester and Tim Collins.
Bellinger overall went 3-for-4, driving in three of the Dodgers’ seven runs on the night. Cubs manager Joe Maddon made note of Bellinger’s offensive capabilities and went a little further and complimented his all-around game, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“You don’t make a mistake, because he’s able — like you saw — to go left-center or pull it right down the right-field line. He’s a great athlete. Just don’t think of him as a hitter. He’s a great athlete. He plays all over the place. He plays every position well. He can throw. He can run. He’s just a good baseball player.”
Lester, who struggled to contain Bellinger in Thursday’s start, deemed him one of the better hitters he’s ever faced:
“Bellinger’s probably one of the better hitters I’ve seen, as far as his approach and not chasing and playing the game and doing all that. That’s why he’s hitting .350-something with 20-something homers. When you don’t chase, it makes the pitcher come into the zone a little bit more and then, with their lineup, you definitely don’t want to give free passes. I think his numbers and everything kind of speak for themselves when it comes to that.”
Bellinger can easily impact a game on either side of the ball, and that has been evident for the better part of the season. Back in April, he robbed Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich of a home run and then proceeded to hit a go-ahead home run himself to propel the Dodgers to victory.
As Lester notes, Bellinger’s adjustments at the plate have led to what has been a historic season thus far. Entering Monday’s matchup with the San Francisco Giants, he continues to pace all of baseball in batting average (.355) and on-base percentage (.451). He also ranks in the top-five in home runs (23), RBI (58) and slugging percentage (.702).
To no surprise, Bellinger remains the top vote-getter in the second All-Star Game voting update.