Los Angeles Dodgers superstar and National League MVP favorite Cody Bellinger snapped out of his recent slump in a big way Thursday by belting two home runs in a 7-3 comeback win over the Chicago Cubs.
Before the series opener at Dodger Stadium, Bellinger was hitting just .182/.325/.242 with just six hits and no home runs in the month of June. It was a sharp contrast to his first two months of the 2019 season, where Bellinger led the NL in virtually every category.
If he indeed has put an end to his brief skid, it will quickly be forgotten in what is on pace to be a historic season.
While Bellinger acknowledged a slump was bound to happen at some point, he relied on preparation in the batting cage to emerge from it, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“I felt alright, I didn’t feel great. That’s the game, though. It’s going to happen, it’ll probably happen again. Just a lot of work in the cage to try and get back to where I was.”
Bellinger added he does not believe his return of power and success were due to one specific change:
“I wouldn’t say there was one thing. Just a lot of video and trying to get back to where I was.”
Bellinger’s two-run home run in the third inning off Cubs starter Jon Lester marked his first since May 28, and his solo shot off relief pitcher Tim Collins in the seventh gave him 22 home runs this season.
That mark is still good for second in the Majors, tied with rookie New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and defending NL MVP Christian Yelich has 25.
Both home runs Thursday were also off left-handers, which Bellinger struggled mightily against in 2018, so much so that he was often benched against them in the playoffs.
Bellinger’s powerful stroke, which helped him hit an NL rookie record 49 home runs in 2017, seemed to disappear during his slump, as he only recorded one extra-base hit in June before Thursday.
Even when factoring in the recent slump, Bellinger still leads the Major Leagues by a wide margin with his .358 batting average and 5.9 wins above replacement overall this season.
He also remains tied for first with 169 total bases and second in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Only Yelich owns a higher on-base plus slugging percentage than Bellinger’s 1.153 OPS.