The poor start for the Los Angeles Dodgers to the 2018 Major League Baseball regular season is beginning to show cracks with the most recent coming during a 4-2 Los Angeles loss on Sunday to National League West rivals the San Francisco Giants.
Manager Dave Roberts took the rookie of the year from last season Cody Bellinger out of the game during the fifth inning and benched the outfielder for what Roberts said was a lack of hustle.
Roberts following the loss told reporters that he felt Bellinger did not hustle on a ball he hit deep to right-center and just cruised to second with a double. He was referring to a ball that was hit hard by Bellinger into an area known as Triples Alley.
Roberts added that Bellinger plays every day and certain expectations exist for how the play must be played and when those unwritten rules are not abided by, the team will find a player in the mix that will, which makes it quite simple.
After dropping three of the four games in the just completed series with the Giants, Los Angeles is 12-15. More importantly, they are already seven games behind the front running Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West and begin a four-game series with their rivals on the road Monday.
Bellinger told reporters following the game he had been unaware at the time what the reason was for being benched, but he was very surprised.
Bellinger said that when he reached the dugout Roberts told him that he had been taken out of the game, but his manager did not say why he pulled him.
Bellinger said he put his jacket on and went to the dugout railing and watched the rest of the game. He insisted he always plays the game hard.
He added that on his double he had taken a big swing and ended up on one knee, and since the team was behind by four runs he decided he did not want to make an out attempting to stretch a double to a triple.
Obviously, Bellinger said it is Triples Alley but the team is down by four and that was his reasoning, and his decision and he does not think there was anything wrong with it.
Roberts might have been trying to send a message to his team of stars that has won the title in the NL West the last five seasons that the club’s start to the season is unacceptable.