Facing their first true test of adversity this year, the Los Angeles Dodgers battled their way back from a 3-1 deficit against the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series to advance to their third World Series since 2017.
Providing the biggest swing of Game 7 was Cody Bellinger, whose solo home run off Chris Martin in the seventh inning gave the Dodgers a decided 4-3 lead. The 25-year-old finished the NLCS with an .875 on-base plus slugging in 31 plate appearances and looked considerably more comfortable at the plate.
“Cody is as talented as any player in baseball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think this postseason has shown him and he’s learning the value of controlling the strike zone, taking what they give you, trying to win pitches and if there’s a walk in there, take the walk.
“If they make a mistake, you can still slug. Corey to Cody, they’ve really grown. Talented players, but what they’re doing this postseason is another level.”
Roberts attributed Bellinger’s success, and Corey Seager’s for that matter, to working counts, drawing walks and capitalizing on mistakes made by the Braves pitching staff. “Speaking to Seager, he’s been like that, but I think even in the postseason he’s been better at taking walks when he needs to and being really aggressive int he strike zone,” Roberts said.
“As far as Cody, the surface line average might not speak to how good he’s been, but spoiling pitches, the amount of pitches he’s seen, taking walks has been considerably better than he was this season. Credit goes to him.”
Though he went hitless in Game 7, Seager was named the 2020 NLCS MVP. He batted an overall .310/.333/.897 with two doubles, five home runs and 11 RBI in seven games against the Braves.
Bellinger shakes off dislocated shoulder
After the Dodgers’ Game 7 win, Bellinger revealed he dislocated his right shoulder during a home run celebration with Kiké Hernandez.
Though he still feels a little sore, Bellinger was in the lineup for Game 1 of the World Series and again Wednesday night. He dropped a ball in center field while attempting to make a running catch — later admitting the shoulder was a factor — but that play also gave Bellinger confidence he was in the clear.
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