World Series: Dodgers’ struggling offense could use a Cody Bellinger awakening

HOUSTON — Through three games in the 2017 World Series, the Dodgers trail the Astros two games to one. Offensively, the Dodgers have scored 12 runs, and that doesn’t seem terrible on the surface. It’s four runs per game. They averaged 4.75 per game in the regular season, but this is the postseason and the Dodgers entered the series with great run prevention. 

Looking deeper, though, the Dodgers’ offense is in a rut aside from the long ball. Eight of their 12 runs have come via the home run. In Game 3, they got runs on a double play, groundout and wild pitch. Overall the Dodgers are hitting .161/.243/.376 in the three World Series games. 

Chris Taylor doesn’t have a hit since he led off the series with a homer, Justin Turner is only hitting .154, Yasiel Puig is only hitting .167 and Austin Barnes is 1 for 9. 

But, man, Cody Bellinger has looked totally lost. 

In the three World Series games so far, the soon-to-be-named NL Rookie of the Year is 0 for 11 with seven strikeouts. He’s had some big ones too, such as in the sixth inning of Game 3, striking out with no outs and runners on second and third. It he finds a gap or parks one there, the game is totally different. 

He’s gotten progressively worse in the series. 

Game 1: 0-3, 1 K
Game 2: 0-4, 2 K
Game 3: 0-4, 4 K

It’s bad enough that someone misguidedly asked manager Dave Roberts about “resting” Bellinger to help get him right after Game 3. 

“I don’t see giving him a day off,” Roberts said. “There were a couple of good swings, but I think he’s just in that funk right now where he’s chasing balls out of the strike zone. I think the defense is obviously a premium. And the presence of him to be in the lineup.

“But it’s just trying to get Cody to slow down a little bit. I think he’s been a little too quick. And tonight you saw balls below the zone. He was on the defensive.

“So I think that he’s trying his hardest. He’s trying his tail off. I think we’ve got to get him to slow down and stay in the strike zone. If you look at the pitches tonight, a lot of balls out of the zone.”

Just like Astros manager A.J. Hinch leaving George Springer in the leadoff spot after a 3-for-30 skid (Springer is now hot, by the way), now isn’t the time to start resting studs or tinkering with the batting order. Funks happen, and players break out of them. This is the World Freaking Series, not the middle of May. 

Roberts needs to stick with Bellinger in the cleanup spot moving forward. He just need Bellinger to revert to form and it’ll help breathe life into the struggling Dodgers offense. Maybe it starts in Game 4. The Dodgers and Bellinger could certainly use the boost. 

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