Back for a three-game series against the Brewers, the Los Angeles Dodgers are showing off their Players Weekend gear through Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
‘Belly Bombs’ expect clean Players Weekend
Three of the Dodgers’ six All-Stars on the disabled list, but Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and Cody Bellinger still had their gear on display Friday.
Bellinger, aka “Cody Love” for Players Weekend, designed his cleats to feature a bell and bomb, naming them Belly bombs, fitting for the team leader in home runs. Kershaw, aka “Kersh,” honored his home state of Texas with his bat and honored his foundation, Kershaw’s Challenge, with the patch on his sleeve and MLB jerseys.
“I think it’s great,” manager Dave Roberts, aka “Doc,” said. “We talked about it being a kids game, I don’t know what I think of this Dodger blue we got rocking, but to see everyone with the nicknames, I haven’t run the gambit of looking at everyone’s nicknames, our guy ‘Silver Fox’ [Chase Utley] has got to be somewhere at the top. I think cheap MLB jersey is great.”
Ross Stripling, aka “Chicken Strip,” will make a spot-start for Wood (aka “Woodman”) in the rotation, as the lefty is on the DL with shoulder inflammation. Stripling might have a chuckle when he takes the mound and hears “Chicken Strip” through the speakers at Dodger Stadium.
“That’s going to be kind of funny,” Stripling said. “I don’t think I ever planned on making a start with ‘Chicken Strip’ on my back, so that’s going to be kind of funny, but it’ll be fun. My mom approved of it, so that’s all that matters.”
Not only is Bellinger on pace to cement himself in the franchise record books, he’s doing it a faster pace than Piazza, who needed 149 games to accomplish the feat.
Bellinger is tied with Mark McGwire jersey for the most home runs in Major League history through 96 games. Bellinger has also already tied Ryan Braun (2007) and Walt Dipo (1950) for the 12th most home runs by a rookie.
“A lot of guys in our clubhouse are having really big years,” manager Dave Roberts said, “and getting some acclaim, and that’s great.”
One club that has taken the brunt of Bellinger’s season is the Padres, who have seen the rookie trot around the bases four times this season. Bellinger entered Sunday’s series finale slashing .419/.471/.806 in seven games vs. San Diego. He continued that dominance on Saturday, going 3-for-3 with the homer and a stolen base.
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Chris Taylor, who played with Bellinger at Triple-A Oklahoma City, has seen Bellinger’s ride firsthand.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Taylor said. “I had the opportunity to play with Cody in Triple-A, and I’ve seen what’s he can do with MLB mets jerseys. It doesn’t surprise me at all.”
With Joc Pederson jersey in a slump, the Dodgers reshuffled their lineup for Tuesday’s series opener against the White Sox. Yasiel Puig jersey moved up from the eight hole to the No. 6 slot. Puig, who is slashing .288/.354/.550 with 20 homers against right-handers, had only batted sixth in six games this season.
Roberts said Puig’s move gives Pederson and Logan Forsythe a chance to get back on track and adds protection for rookie Cody Bellinger jersey in the lineup.
“If you look at what Cody’s done,” Roberts said. “And the fear that he posses on opposing pitchers and what Yasiel has done right handed pitching, to have him behind might make someone think twice about pitching around Cody. Again, it’s not necessarily a reward or demotion type thing. I don’t look at it like that at all for any of the situations. It’s just more of looking at what I feel gives us the best chance to win MLB jersey youth.”