Cody Bellinger had a regular season to forget in 2021. From the .165 batting average to the multiple stints on the injured list, he had a difficult time in finding his place in the Los Angeles Dodgers' star-studded lineup. But with one hit, he made many simply forget about his struggles over the year.
Bellinger was once again a playoff hero for the Dodgers, as his RBI single in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the NLDS helped Los Angeles clinch a spot in the NLCS. Even though he hit .175 against sliders in the regular season, he managed to connect on one such pitch during his duel with Giants reliever Camilo Doval.
As Bellinger noted after the series-clinching win, he had one simplistic approach in his at-bat against Doval.
“Stay simple,” Bellinger said. “He’s got a really good fastball, a really good slider. I saw that one well out of the hand and tried to put a good swing on it, put it in play.”
This is not the first time that Bellinger has delivered for the Dodgers in a crucial situation of a postseason game. As noted by ESPN Stats and Info, he joined David Ortiz, Pete Rose, Carlos Correa and J.D. Drew in the all-time lead for the most career go-ahead hits in the ninth inning or later of a postseason game with three.
Cody Bellinger's RBI single was his 3rd career go-ahead hit in the 9th inning or later of a postseason game.
That ties Carlos Correa, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew and Pete Rose for most in MLB history. pic.twitter.com/EwHhcNGgvm
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 15, 2021
The former National League MVP Award winner previously delivered with his notable walk-off RBI single in the Dodgers' Game 4 win against the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2018 NLCS and his key game-winning RBI double in Los Angeles' Game 4 win over the Houston Astros in the 2018 World Series.
As has been noted, Bellinger is well known for being a player who has a knack to shine on the biggest stages in MLB. One can not forget his solo home run in the 7th inning of the Dodgers' 2020 NLCS Game 7 showdown against the Atlanta Braves that wound up sending Los Angeles to a third World Series appearance in four years.
The Dodgers will now turn their attention to an NLCS rematch with Atlanta, with Game 1 set for Saturday.