With Clayton Kershaw coming off the 10-day injured list for his 2020 debut, Sunday marked the first time the Los Angeles Dodgers got a look at their three MVP Award winners in a meaningful game.
Fittingly, Kershaw, Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts each were a central figure in a 3-0 win to help the Dodgers take three of four from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Bellinger’s home run provided Kershaw with a lead prior to throwing his first pitch of the season.
It was a particularly encouraging sign for the reigning National League MVP, who had been given Saturday off in order to reset amid a slow start to the season. In explaining that decision, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Bellinger still wanted to be in the lineup that night.
Bellinger corroborated that after L.A. improved to 7-3 on the season. “I actually felt really good [Saturday] and then [Sunday] felt really good as well,” he said. “It’s nice to see results in a game. Sometimes it doesn’t always translate. But overall I felt really good these past few days.”
At the center of Bellinger’s struggles has been a new-look batting stance that was unveiled in Summer Camp. He appeared to be slow to handling velocity but began to find some success as the regular season drew near.
Some interrupted it as a new swing, a perception Bellinger attempted to correct. No matter, he has reverted to mechanics from his MVP season. “I’ve been back to last year’s for a while now,” he said Sunday.
“It’s just a matter of getting timing down. Obviously it’s go time. I’m not too worried about it. I felt really good the past two days and hopefully I can keep it rolling. I haven’t really felt bad. It’s just a matter of missing pitches.
“It’s something that small, but that’s the game. There’s always going to be issues you’ve got to fix. It’s not trying to be toor results-based but knowing when you feel good or don’t feel good, and going from there.”
Bellinger and Roberts agreed the home run — his first of the season — and a deep fly out in the next at-bat can signal the start of a turnaround.
Betts leaves early
Kershaw tossed 5.2 shutout innings with a fastball that sat 92-93 mph, Bellinger hit his aforementioned home run, and Betts also got in on the action with a solo blast. However, he also was removed early due to swelling in the middle finger on his left hand.
An x-ray was negative but Betts is considered day-to-day, same as Corey Seager (left quad issue).
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