Dan's Dugout: Cody + Corey Prove Lethal in Los Angeles • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Cody + Corey Prove Lethal in Los Angeles

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Move over, Aaron. Here comes another judge.

Just when the baseball world was ready to concede universal Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors to Aaron Judge, another player has leaped to the front of the freshman class.

Cody Bellinger has reason to smile these days

Cody Bellinger has reason to smile these days

Cody Bellinger, who didn’t even make his major-league debut until April 25, smacked his 22nd home run Tuesday night. That gave him 22 in 52 games – the fastest pace of any player in baseball history.

He had three homers in the first two games of the current Dodgers series against the Mets and 10 in 10 games – the first man to do that since Troy Tulowitzki, then with the Rockies, hit 11 in 10 games in September 2010.

The only other Dodger to go 10-for-10 was Shawn Green in May 2002.

The 6’4″ lefthanded batter already has five multi-homer games, a feat matched previously by future Hall of Famer Mike Piazza during his Dodger tenure.

Heading into play Wednesday, Bellinger led the Dodgers with 49 runs batted in and led the National League with 22 homers. And, because fans pick the lineups, he won’t even start the All-Star Game.

Starting on his own team was an early concern for Bellinger, a first baseman blocked by Adrian

Teammate Yasiel Puig dumps Cody Bellinger after another homer

Teammate Yasiel Puig dumps Cody Bellinger after another homer

Gonzalez. But the rookie got his chance when the veteran got hurt. He also spent considerable time in the outfield corners, primarily in left.

“We’re just doing whatever we can to win games,” said Bellinger after the Dodgers cracked five home runs, including three by Corey Seager, in a 12-0 romp over the Mets Tuesday in Los Angeles. “We have great pitching and it makes it easier for our offense.”

Usually, that works the other way around, with pitchers begging for support.

In fact, during the heyday of Hall of Famers Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles had lethal pitching but puny support. Now the Dodgers are clicking on all cylinders, as they must to stay on top in a three-way race with the Rockies and Diamondbacks for NL West supremacy.
All three are playing at a .600 pace.

Corey Seager had his second three-homer game Tuesday night

Corey Seager had his second three-homer game Tuesday night

Dodger pitchers are loving the work of Bellinger, the leading candidate to succeed Seager as National League Rookie of the Year.

“Whatever he’s doing, I don’t understand,” said Brandon McCarthy, one of the L.A. starters. “It’s really fun to watch those guys hit right now.”

The offensive explosion is not typical on a team that plays half its games in Dodger Stadium, never considered an easy target for sluggers. But it’s so contagious that it’s like feeding spinach to Popeye.

“I’m having a blast,” the 21-year-old Bellinger said Tuesday night. “What tops it off is how well we’re playing as a team.”

Wally Berger of the 1930 Boston Braves held the previous mark for collecting home runs quickly, with 22 in his first 56 games (all but four of them starts).

Almost overshadowed by Bellinger, Seager produced the second three-run homer in a career that started only last year. It helped the Dodgers win for the 11th time in their last 12 tries.

“We’ve come to expect greatness every night,” said second-year Dodger manager Dave Roberts.

Seager had a fly ball in his last at-bat, then was left in the on-deck circle later. Had he homered again, he would have joined Gil Hodges as Dodger representatives in the Four-Homer Club.

Seventeen players, including Scooter Gennett earlier this month, have hit four in a game.

Even Judge hasn’t done that, though he set such a blistering first-half pace that he’s a serious contender to win a Triple Crown won only once (Miguel Cabrera in 2012) since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967.

Aaron Judge is a Triple Crown contender Credit: Daniel Budasoff/Latino Sports

Aaron Judge is a Triple Crown contender
Credit: Daniel Budasoff/Latino Sports

Elsewhere in baseball:

After their shellacking in the City of the Angels Tuesday, the vaunted New York Mets rotation sported a composite earned run average of 5.11 . . .

Now that the amateur draft is done and the July 4 marker is well within sight, serious trade talk is beginning across the major leagues . . .

On the verge of their Hall of Fame induction, Tim Raines was talking about Pudge Rodriguez: “One of the first games he played for Texas was against the White Sox when I was there. I remember him making a throw down to first base and I said ‘Whoa! I don’t think I’ll be running when we play those guys.’”

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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