Monday night was a battle of the aces at Dodger Stadium with Clayton Kershaw squaring off against Jacob deGrom, but it was another player, Cody Bellinger, who wound up stealing the show in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 9-5 comeback win over the New York Mets.
Bellinger grades as the best player in baseball by many metrics so far this season, and his play in the series opener further added to that case.
He continued his torrid pace at the plate by hitting a 432-foot home run to right field off deGrom to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead in the third inning. The long ball was Bellinger’s 19th of the season, which is second in baseball behind only Christian Yelich’s 21.
As crazy as it may sound though, Bellinger’s biggest impact in the game came on the defensive side of the ball. Many have been aware or learned how strong of an arm Bellinger has, and the Mets found that out on multiple occasions Monday night.
With runners at first and second base and one out in the first inning, Kershaw gave up a single to Todd Frazier. Bellinger charged the ball hard and fired a perfect strike to Russell Martin at home plate to get Michael Conforto on his attempt to score.
While impressive, that was Bellinger’s second-best throw of the night. In perhaps the biggest situation of the game as the Dodgers held a slim 8-5 lead in the eighth inning, manager Dave Roberts summoned closer Kenley Jansen for a five-out save.
Jansen inherited a bases-loaded jam that was created by Joe Kelly and Dylan Floro. The first batter he faced, J.D. Davis hit a fly ball that was pretty deep in right field.
Bellinger settled under it and realized that he would not get the runner at home, so he instead fired a laser on a fly to third base. Justin Turner applied the tag to get Carlos Gomez, completing the inning-ending double play before the runner attempting to tag could cross home plate.
The Dodgers offense as a whole was superb on the night, slugging 17 hits and nine runs against deGrom and the Mets bullpen. deGrom actually left the game after five innings and with a 3-2 lead, but that didn’t last long as Chris Taylor hit a game-tying solo home run in the sixth.
Later in the same inning, Kiké Hernandez stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter and proceeded to launched a three-run home run to right-center field to give the Dodgers a lead. They wound up scoring six runs in the sixth inning and never looked back en route to the victory.