After experiencing a bit of a lull — by his standards — Cody Bellinger has heated back up in recent weeks as the Los Angeles Dodgers continue to jostle for the best record in baseball and close in on an unprecedented seventh consecutive National League West title.
On Sunday, Bellinger clubbed a three-run home run to give the Dodgers an early 3-0 lead and put himself back atop MLB leaderboard with 42 longballs this season. Bellinger’s drive — which went off Ronald Acuña Jr.’s glove on his attempt at a leaping catch — had the Dodgers on track for a win before Dustin May surrendered a grand slam in the sixth inning.
The home run was Bellinger’s fifth in the past seven games and gave him eight during August, which already is his most in any calendar month this season. The NL MVP candidate doesn’t believe there’s a specific reason behind the recent surge, other than sticking to a balanced approach, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“Just hitting good pitches and not trying to do too much. I think that’s the key. … I make little adjustments every day, to be honest, so I wouldn’t say there’s one (new) thing that I’m doing. Like I said, just trying to swing at good pitches and stay within myself, not do too much.”
As he’s continued to rack up home runs, Bellinger made personal and franchise history by hitting his 40th. Bellinger surpassed his previous career high of 39, set en route to winning NL Rookie of the Year in 2017, and became the youngest player in Dodgers franchise history to hit 40 home runs in a single season.
Andy by reaching the benchmark in 118 games, Bellinger tied with Gary Sheffield (2000) for fastest in Dodgers franchise history to slug 40 homers. Earlier this season, Bellinger reached 100 career home runs in his 401st game to break Mike Piazza’s Dodgers record (422 games).
Prior to Bellinger, Adrian Beltre was the last Dodgers player to hit 40 homers when he mashed 48 in 2004. Shawn Green holds the franchise record for most home runs in a season at 49, set in 2002. Bellinger remains on pace to shatter that mark.
His recent uptick helped the Dodgers break their franchise record with 14 home runs hit during a three-game series. The previous record was held by the 2002 team that hit 12 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Dodgers then built upon that to tie the 1977 Boston Red Sox for most home runs hit during a six-game stretch with 24.