The New York Mets walked off against the San Francisco Giants with a victory in Game 5 of their NL wild-card matchup, leaving Los Angeles Dodgers fans to try and get excited for what will likely be an early exit from the postseason. Instead, they got Chris Taylor’s walk-off home run and Cody Bellinger’s game-winning hit; two unlikely heroes who provided some much needed relief during one of baseball’s most trying times.
The “cody bellinger age” is a story about the Los Angeles Dodgers taking the NL wild card over the St. Louis Cardinals. The heroes of this story are Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger who both contributed to the victory.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — As the National League Wild Card Game dragged on and the score stayed tied, a single idea in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ dugout — in the bottom of the ninth inning, with the St. Louis Cardinals on the other side — started to gather traction.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner stated, “We all believed Albert [Pujols] was going to smash a home slam.” “It could not have been better written.”
Chris Taylor confessed to feeling the same way. But then he watched Albert Pujols and Steven Souza Jr. line out, Cody Bellinger work a walk, and Cardinals reliever Alex Reyes hang a slider over the plate. Taylor hit a two-run walk-off homer with two outs in the ninth inning, driving the Dodgers to a 3-1 win against the Cardinals and putting them in a highly anticipated NL Division Series matchup against the division-rival San Francisco Giants.
This was a better outcome for a Dodgers club in desperate need of offense after Max Muncy’s bizarre elbow injury.
Bellinger, the 2019 NL MVP, has struggled mightily in 2021, ending the regular season with a slash line of.165/.240/.302 in 350 plate appearances. With the Dodgers’ season on the line, he reached base three times and swiped second base twice. Bellinger faced left-handed reliever T.J. McFarland in the ninth inning with two outs, none on, and the score still knotted at 1, setting up an unpleasant matchup for Cardinals manager Mike Shildt.
Bellinger’s on-base percentage versus lefties this season was.208, which was 134 points below the big league average. In that circumstance, putting together the plate appearance was an indication that he was finally feeling better.
“It’s time to forget about the season at this point,” Bellinger added. “Just go on to the playoffs and do all you can to help this team win.”
Taylor was an All-Star for the first time this season, but he hit only.121/.212/.190 during his last 22 regular-season games, had a neck injury at the conclusion of that run, and wasn’t even in the lineup when his team needed a top bat in a game that was a win-or-go-home game. Instead, Taylor came in for defense in the seventh inning, made a diving catch in left field with a runner on in the eighth, then came through in the ninth, sending the 53,193-strong Dodger Stadium crowd into a frenzy.
Taylor became the first player since Jose Lobaton of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013 to smash a playoff walk-off home run in a game he began on the bench.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts remarked, “The game rewards you.” “He didn’t want to be in there tonight, but he was prepared when he was.”
The 106-win Dodgers will also be without Clayton Kershaw for the duration of the playoffs, but their pitching seems good at first. Walker Buehler will start Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday at Oracle Park in San Francisco, and Julio Urias, who was warming up to throw the 10th inning if the wild-card game had gone to extra innings, may pitch Game 2 on Saturday. On full rest, Max Scherzer, who fought through shaky command to allow one run and record 13 outs in Game 2 on Wednesday, may be ready for Game 3 on Monday.
The recent contributions of Bellinger and Taylor add to the optimism going into what is expected to be a competitive series against the 107-win Giants, allowing Roberts to play Taylor in center and Bellinger at first base to get as close to playing a complete lineup as possible.
As the bottom of the ninth inning unfolded on Wednesday, Scherzer sat next to Joe Kelly, the guy who replaced Scherzer in the fifth, pulling the Dodgers out of a two-on, one-out jam, and made another prediction. He predicted Bellinger would walk and Taylor would hit a home shot, but Scherzer had Taylor hitting a fastball to the opposite field rather than a slider to the left.
That’s close enough.
Scherzer said of Taylor, “I had that vision for him.” “I’ve played with him, confronted him, and seen everything. ‘This is the perfect guy for the right place, and he’ll put a nice swing on it,’ I thought. He did, after all.”
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