Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers’ walk-off magic showing 2019 might be different

Cody Bellinger’s heroics on Wednesday gave the Los Angeles Dodgers their fifth straight walk-off victory and their eighth of the season

The Los Angeles Dodgers trailed the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 going to the bottom of the ninth inning on Wednesday, but against this version of the Dodgers, no lead is safe.

After Kike Hernandez began the inning with a double to right, left-fielder Matt Beaty drove him in with a single to tie the game. The Dodgers then had a chance to win later in the inning, loading the bases with one out, before Alex Verdugo grounded into an inning-ending double play.

It didn’t seem to matter to these walk-off wizards. In the bottom of the 10th, Cody Bellinger, having himself an MVP-caliber season, hit a 442-foot home run to right-center field, his second of the game, to give the Dodgers a 5-4 win.

The Dodgers have found some kind of walk-off magic recently. Wednesday’s game was their fifth straight walk-off win, the first club to do that since the 2004 Oakland Athletics. A day earlier Arizona had taken the same 4-3 lead into the ninth before issuing five straight walks to end the game, the last, fittingly, to Bellinger. They also swept the Colorado Rockies in a three-game series from June 21-23, all via the walk-off fashion. The Dodgers now lead the Majors this season with eight walk-off wins and have won 11 of their last 15 games overall to take a 14 game lead in the NL West at 59-29.

“It’s been insane,” Bellinger told Spectrum Sportsnet LA after his walk-off heroics on Wednesday. “It’s not just one person, it’s our whole team. So it’s been incredible and hopefully we can keep it rolling.”

Their flair for the dramatic bodes well for the Dodgers as they try to avoid the disappointment of the previous two seasons. The Dodgers have represented the National League in the World Series the last two years but have come up on the losing end both times, in seven games to the Houston Astros in 2017 and a five-game defeat to the Boston Red Sox in 2018. This year’s Dodgers, though, look like a different club. Last year they were just .500 in one-run games; in 2019 they’re 18-9, a .667 winning percentage.

They also didn’t have someone playing like Bellinger is right now. His two home runs on Wednesday gives him 29 on the season, the most by a Dodgers player before the All-Star break in franchise history. He’s also second in the league with a .345 batting average and .707 slugging percentage while leading the Majors in OPS. He’s now batting .340 against left-handers this season with 10 home runs, a year after hitting just. 226 against lefties.

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Bellinger was at a loss for words in describing how the club has pulled off their recent run. “We’re good and we’ve got a lot of talented guys on our team,” he said. “I don’t know. We’re good, I guess.”

They are good, and with the magic they’ve found a third straight NL pennant is well on the way to being hoisted in Dodger Stadium.

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