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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner lead the MLB in home runs this postseason

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With the postseason well underway, the narrative surrounding the Dodgers and their lineup suddenly shifts. The entire 2018 season was spent discussing the decline of Manny Machado, the dynamite swing of Justin Turner and the development of Cody Bellinger as future stars.

Turner and Bellinger have proved one thing to this point: they have no problem crushing balls into the left field seats in October. Turner has homered twice and Bellinger three times as the top two offenders of hard-hit balls this postseason, hitting home runs off of two different Madison Bumgarner pitches against the Giants (on Friday, Turner hit the third homer of his playoff career) and blasting home runs off of a combined six Giants pitchers this weekend.

Over the course of the playoffs, Turner has hit three out of the park while leading off a game nine times and five different times in the postseason. Only Ben Zobrist has more postseason homers in his career in consecutive postseason years (10) than Turner (nine).

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (who is suspended for the last three games of the series), also homered off Bumgarner, tying the game at three with a solo shot in the fifth inning. At the other end of the home run charts, Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a home run. Since May 5, Betts hit .311 and drove in 26 runs in 76 games (64 plate appearances) against the Giants. Betts is hitting .426 against the Dodgers in this series and has been a fixture in the Boston lineup since the beginning of the regular season.

Even if he isn’t dominant, Betts usually provides some small spark for Boston. He started the playoffs off very strong with his team still trailing in the series.

Logan Morrison (0-for-4 with a strikeout), Xander Bogaerts (0-for-2), Josh Rutledge (0-for-2) and Mitch Moreland (0-for-3) added mixed results in the field. Rutledge played in six regular season games against the Dodgers in the outfield (seventh among MLB players with 170 career games in the outfield), Rutledge, whose season ended early due to injury, is expected to see playing time in left field in the series.

Moreland also struggled against Dodger left-hander Alex Wood in Game 2 of the series, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. Wood’s dominance continued in Game 3, as he limited the Sox to one run on three hits and two walks.

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