The Monday Takeaway
Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger made his major-league debut on April 25. This is important information because on Monday night, Bellinger hit his 20th and 21st home runs of the year. He now leads the Dodgers in both home runs and RBI. He also passed Eric Thames for the National League lead in home runs, and tied Gary Sanchez and Wally Berger for the fastest to 20 career homers in MLB history, at 51 games.
Bellinger tied the Sanchez/Berger record with his first-inning home run off Mets starter Zack Wheeler and then hit his 21st homer an inning later. So, I guess that also means he holds the record for most career homers through 51 games. Sorry, Gary and Wally. Oh, and this was the fifth time this season that Bellinger has had a multi-home run game. Again, his debut was April 25.
What Bellinger is doing so far is incredible. He’s only 21 years old, and as Keith Hernandez said on Monday night’s Mets broadcast of the Mets-Dodgers contest, “He’s not done growing yet.” Bellinger is listed at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, and looks pretty lanky at the plate. If he’s hitting the ball like this now, what’s going to happen when he puts on some more muscle?
Even more amazing is that Bellinger has surpassed his dad’s career stats in so few games. His father, Clay Bellinger, played 181 games with the Yankees from 1999-2001 and he batted .193/.257/.363 with 12 homers and 35 RBI. Clay also didn’t make his major-league debut until he was 30 years old.
Bellinger’s second home run put the Dodgers up 7-0 in the second inning, which should have been enough for Clayton Kershaw to work with. But sometimes weird things happen in baseball, like Kershaw giving up four home runs in a game for the first time in his career.
The first home run was to Jose Reyes, who hit a rope over the wall in left field to put the Mets on the board. The second home run was to Jay Bruce, who hit his 19th of the year to right-center to make it 7-2. The third home run was to Gavin Cecchini, who hit the first home run of his career to left field off a curveball.
Cecchini joins a list of three players who have hit their first career home runs off Kershaw. The other two are Hector Gomez, who did it on May 4, 2015, and Darnell McDonald, who did it on August 30, 2009. That’s it.
The fourth home run Kershaw surrendered was to Reyes again, who reached down to get a curveball and send it into left field to cut the score to 8-6 and send Kershaw out of the game. The last time Reyes had a two-home game was July 10, 2016 off Gio Gonzalez.
As BP alum Jay Jaffe noted on Twitter, both Bellinger and Kershaw are products of “Too Many Homers”:
Too Many Homers: 1.26 per team per game coming into today, an MLB record. Bellinger's 21-in-51 and Kershaw's 4-in-1 both products of this
— Jay Jaffe (@jay_jaffe) June 20, 2017
The Marlins and Nationals also played a game in Miami that featured a bunch of home runs. Bryce Harper got things started with two-run shot in the first inning that he wasn’t even sure made it out, but it cleared the wall in right-center and bounced back onto the field.
Anthony Rendon made it 3-0 Nationals in the second inning.
After scoring three more runs in the top of the third, the Nats were on top by a commanding six runs when the Marlins came up to bat in the bottom of the frame, but Tanner Roark had a bit of trouble. He gave up a single and a triple to start the inning. After getting a fly out and an RBI groundout, he gave up a single to Giancarlo Stanton and surrendered walks to Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
And after a coaching visit to the mound, Justin Bour hit a game-tying grand slam to make it 6-6.
Washington pulled ahead 7-6 in the fifth on a Stephen Drew double, but Stanton hit a home run to tie it 7-7 in the seventh.
Marcell Ozuna walked it off with a single in the ninth against Enny Romero to lead Miami to an 8-7 win.
The Marlins are 14-7 in their last 21 games.
The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo seems to enjoy batting leadoff. He reached base safely again in his first plate appearance of the game, making it the sixth time in as many starts. On Monday night against the Padres, he bunted his way on. Whatever works, right?
The Indians beat up on the Orioles at Camden Yards, 12-0. They hit seven doubles, a triple, and two home runs. Jose Ramirez had two of the doubles and the triple.
He had quite a night.
The Orioles, on the other hand, had three hits and two errors. It was not a good night for them.
The Rays’ Danny Farquhar didn’t have a great day against the Reds.. He hit two batters, he threw two wild pitches, and allowed two inherited runners to score. Joey Votto scored all the way from second base on one of those wild pitches.
The Reds went on to win, 7-3.
Defensive Play of the Day
The Blue Jays and Rangers played a back-and-forth game, as usual, down in Arlington, and Josh Donaldson did his part in making sure that Texas didn’t pull away and kept the score close with this diving play at third.
The Blue Jays prevailed, 8-7.
What to Watch on Tuesday
The Yankees are back home after their West Coast road trip from hell and they’re looking to return to their winning ways against one of the teams who caused them fits last week, the Angels. Michael Pineda will be facing off against Parker Bridwell. Pineda, who is much better at home—he has a 1.96 ERA at Yankee Stadium vs 6.25 on the road—is looking to rebound from his last start against the Angels on June 14. He gave up five runs on 10 hits in six innings while only striking out two batters, earning the loss. Bridwell is starting in the place of injured Matt Shoemaker. He’s pitched in two games for the Angels this season, making one start. The 25-year-old righty was acquired in a trade with Baltimore in April.
Two pitchers are looking for their ninth win on Tuesday night—Chris Sale of the Red Sox and Zack Greinke of the Diamondbacks. Sale will be facing the Royals in Kansas City, while Greinke will be going up against the Rockies in Denver.