Cody Bellinger has spent the better part of the last two-plus months rewriting a number of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ rookie records, so it is hardly surprising it took him only two games after the All-Star break to claim another. After yet another historical night Saturday, Bellinger and the Dodgers will attempt to win their ninth straight game one day later when they wrap up a three-game set in Miami against the Marlins.
Bellinger, who turned 22 two days after becoming the youngest All-Star position player in team history, continued his dream season in Saturday’s 7-1 win when he joined Wes Parker (1970) and Orlando Hudson (2009) as the only Dodgers to hit for the cycle since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958. The cycle - the first by a rookie in club history - powered the Dodgers (63-29) to their 28th win in 32 games and enabled the team with the best record in the majors to improve to 54-18 since his promotion on April 25. After taking six of seven a season ago from Los Angeles, the Marlins have dropped five of the first six meetings this season despite entering the All-Star break having won five of six overall. Amid trade rumors, Miami outfielder Christian Yelich is on a tear with five multi-hit efforts over his last six games - a stretch during which he is batting .444 after going 3-for-4 on Saturday.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, SportsNet LA (Los Angeles), FSN Florida (Miami)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Rich Hill (5-4, 3.69 ERA) vs. Marlins LH Chris O’Grady (1-0, 5.06)
Hill has logged exactly seven innings in each of last three turns - going 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA - after failing to last more than five frames in any of his first nine outings. The Boston native settled for a no-decision July 6 against Arizona despite giving up only a solo homer among the two hits he allowed while fanning nine, increasing his strikeout total to 27 over his torrid stretch. Hill was sensational in his only career appearance at Marlins Park last September, striking out nine over seven no-hit innings in a win.
O’Grady, who will start in place of the injured Edinson Volquez, enjoyed a successful big-league debut in San Francisco on July 8, picking up the victory after yielding three runs across 5 1/3 innings. The 27-year-old George Mason product earned his promotion earlier this month after going 3-5 with a 3.29 ERA in 12 appearances (nine starts) at Triple-A New Orleans while allowing hitters to bat .219 against him. O’Grady gave up a total of five earned runs over his final 30 innings with the Zephyrs.
1. Bellinger, who is tied for the National League lead with 26 homers, became the sixth-youngest player to hit for the cycle since at least 1920.
2. After batting .332 and clubbing 14 home runs over their last eight contests heading into the Midsummer Classic, the Marlins are hitting .239 with no homers through two games in this series.
3. The Dodgers have won 28 of 32 only one other time in their franchise history, going 32-4-1 during a 37-game stretch in 1899 when they were known as the Brooklyn Superbas.
PREDICTION: Dodgers 7, Marlins 2