Belli Dancing

Breaking down the best hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Cody Bellinger (LAD): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 6 RBI, BB.

Last night Bellinger joined an elite list of just 23 players who have driven in six or more runs in the same inning. This remarkable feat occurred in the first inning of last night’s game, an inning in which the Dodgers scored a whopping 11 runs. In his first at-bat, he singled in two runs with a line drive to right field. After the Dodgers hit around the order, Bellinger got another chance to bat with the bases loaded and he did not waste it. He launched a shot over the right-field wall to clear the bases for a grand slam to complete the 6-RBI inning. Bellinger finished the game going 2-4, HR, 2 R, 6 RBI, BB.

Bellinger had been out since April 5 with a hairline fracture in his ankle, and last night’s game was just his fifth since returning from the IL on May 29. This was not the only injury Bellinger has suffered recently. He also got shoulder surgery after the World Series last year. On facing the challenges of rehab and returning to the lineup, Bellinger said “Spring training I was on my own schedule getting ready and, obviously, this happened. It’s good to be back with the boys. It will be nice to not watch on TV. It will be nice to be in the games. I’m super excited.” (ESPN)

Coming back from a serious injury is always difficult in professional sports, but even more so in a sport like baseball where repetition and muscle memory are the name of the game. In his first three games back from the IL, Bellinger was 0-10 with seven strikeouts. In his last two games back from the IL, he is 3-7 with a home run and six RBI. The NL West is airtight. The Giants, Padres, and Dodgers all sit within just a game and a half of one another in the standings. If Bellinger can stay healthy and provide steady offensive production for the Dodgers it will make a crucial impact on the pennant race.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday

Mookie Betts (LAD): 3-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Betts kicked off an 11-run first inning with a ground-rule double to lead off the game and then brought drove in a run with a single later in the inning. The first two months of the season have been underwhelming for Betts. His XBA of .269 is the lowest of his career.  However, over his last three games, Betts is 6-for-11 with two doubles and three RBI.

Joshua Fuentes (COL): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, RBI.

After a strong 2020 season, Fuentes is showing signs of regression in 2021. Last year, Fuentes finished the season with a .306 batting average, 52 points higher than his .254 XBA. He doesn’t typically hit for power, but Fuentes showed some pop last night with two extra-base hits, including a home run. So far this season he is hitting .255, in line with what his XBA was last season.

Raimel Tapia (COL): 3-5, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI.

Similar to Fuentes, Tapia is another Rockies youngster who has faced struggles after a successful 2020 campaign. In fact, Tapia is one of just six players in the league to own an average launch angle of fewer than 0 degrees. His average exit velocity is just 85.6 mph, which puts him in the eleventh percentile of MLB players. But none of this was a concern last night, as Tapia put together his fourth three-hit game of the year.

James McCann (NYM): 3-5, HR, R, 4 RBI.

Benevolent billionaire Steve Cohen’s investment in catcher James McCann has not paid dividends so far, but last night was a huge offensive night for the first-year Met. McCann’s three-run home run in the first inning gave the Mets a 3-0 lead, he then added an RBI single in the second. The Mets would need all the support McCann could give them as they squeezed by the Diamondbacks 7-6.

Ryan Jeffers (MIN): 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Jeffers was called up from Triple-A to fill in for the injured Mitch Garver. Last night was his first game with the Twins since April 26, but he looked like he never left. He hit a solo home run in his first at-bat of the game and added a triple in eighth, he would then score on a sacrifice fly. Minnesota does not expect Jeffers to be a world-beater offensively, but continued efforts like last night will keep both the clubhouse and the fans happy.

Anthony Rizzo (CHC): 3-4, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI.

After missing six games from back stiffness, Rizzo has returned to the lineup with two strong performances at the plate. In the two games since his return, Rizzo is 5-8 and his batting average is up to .275, the highest it has been this year. The exit velocity on Rizzo’s seventh-inning double was 110.1 mph, the second-hardest hit ball in that game.

Gio Urshela (NYY): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Urshela has been the most consistent batter in the Yankees lineup all season, and last night was no different. The third baseman went deep in the opening frame to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead and added a lead-off double in the seventh. Unfortunately, Urshela was thrown out at third trying to advance on a past ball, killing a potential rally. The Yankees have made 29 outs on the base paths this season, which is the worst in the league.

Corey Dickerson (MIA): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.

Dickerson hit his second home run of the year last night. It came in the form of a first-inning blast off of top Blue Jays prospect Alek Manoah. Perhaps that home run will provide a spark to Dickerson, who has struggled to find his power stroke this year. While most of his peripherals are in line with career averages, Dickerson’s barrel rate of 3.1% is the worst of his career.

DJ Stewart (BAL): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

Stweart blasted his sixth home run of the year last night in Baltimore’s 6-3 win over Minnesota. Four of his six home runs have come since Austin Hays went down with an injury on May 24. Stewart is the prototype of a modern-day hitter. He strikes out almost a quarter of his at-bats and owns a walk rate of 14%, ranked in the 90th percentile of the league. Stewart is a poor contact hitter with a low batting average, but he has a ton of pop in his bat and can hit for power.

 

Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)

  • Avatar Jim says:

    Urshela has been borderline unplayable over the past month. I hope he turns it around soon. Maybe he needs more time for his knee to get right. Not sure if that can happen though playing every day.

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    It was weird that Belly didn’t exit the game early like most of the players in the lineup – especially a guy that just came off he DL. That is classic Belly though – take advantage of the blowout to try to rack up the bases in bunches. He makes his living off of situations like this. We see it in the playoffs when the cake matchups go away and he becomes irrelevant. The team wins with or without him in the lineup because of his complete lack of consistency.

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