On Friday night, Los Angeles Dodgers fans were glued to their seats. In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the score knotted at 1, Cody Bellinger stepped up to bat with the bases loaded. Sam Long, a Giants reliever, pushed Bellinger to a 0-2 count, but Bellinger ultimately hit a go-ahead grand slam.
Bellinger is the 2019 NL MVP. As one might expect, the moment Cody’s shot gave LA a four-run advantage, Dodger Stadium erupted. The Dodgers veteran Justin Turner pushed Cody up the stairs for a curtain call as choruses of “Co-dy” showered down from the thousands of spectators present after Bellinger made his way back to the dugout after touching home plate.
In Los Angeles Evan Longoria injured himself while lunging at first base on Saturday night, placing him back on the injured list for the third time this year and costing the Giants another starter in the infield. The following morning, as he sat in front of his locker in this clubhouse for visitors, Longoria expressed his disappointment and sadness.
The severity of his right hamstring strain will be determined by an MRI expected for Monday, but he knew he would miss more time this season as soon as he felt it “grab” while racing out a ground-ball double play in the fourth inning of Saturday’s 4-2 defeat to the Dodgers.
He has already missed 45 games this season due to a strained oblique and a ruptured finger ligament, and he will need to miss at least 10 more before being cleared to return from his most recent injury. Longoria expressed his hope that this absence will be limited, possibly lasting less than a month, because he didn’t feel it “pop.” Longoria, 36, was forced to miss the first half of last season due to persistent injuries to his shoulder from a collision with Brandon Crawford and the same finger from a hit-by-pitch.
Longoria described his IL stints this season as “off, on, off, on.” I truly don’t know anything else this year. It makes me angry. Really, that’s all I have to say. I’m at a loss for what else to do. I believe I go above and beyond in terms of preparation, hydration, and rest. Simply put, the body doesn’t want to function as it once did.
The Giants’ expected starting infield has been split up for three games this season due to injuries to Brandon Belt, Crawford, Tommy La Stella, and Evan Longoria. Crawford is currently out due to knee discomfort brought on by a clumsy slide into home plate. La Stella underwent offseason Achilles surgery, which caused him to miss the beginning of the season. He is now recovering from a spell on the COVID list that started on July 7.
Only Belt, the starting infielder who has missed 30 games due to COVID and knee inflammation, is currently on the field. “It’s been difficult. Not an impossible challenge, but one nonetheless,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I don’t believe that injuries in the league are exceptional. But it’s difficult to play without Crawford for protracted stretches of time, to play without Longo for protracted stretches of time, and to sort of shuffle our first basemen because Belt hasn’t been as healthy and active as we all would want.
“At the same time, it’s part of our employment to perform well in such situations and avoid allowing them to mentally overwhelm us. We are situated there. Through this time, we’ll just have to be tough and tenacious.
The opportunity to get a closer look at rookie David Villar, 25, who was leading the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in home runs when he was called up and has compiled a.211/.404/.368 batting line in his first 15 major-league games, was one “silver lining” of Longoria’s most recent IL stint, according to Kapler.
David is crucial to our present and future, according to Kapler. “I believe it’s a fantastic opportunity for him to make a name for himself, much like Luis González and LaMonte Wade Jr. have. Look, I think it would be a great victory for the Giants and David if he could play regularly for us and be a reliable bat in our lineup.
Villar should see the majority of the playing time at third base in the absence of an external move, according to Kapler, even though he won’t play every day (Longoria is eligible to return a day after the Aug. 2 trade deadline).
The Giants will have the option to start La Stella or Wilmer Flores at third once Crawford and La Stella are back. La Stella is anticipated to re-join the group at some point during their upcoming series in Arizona, but reliever Gregory Santos was added to the roster for Sunday’s series finale in Los Angeles.
Based on what he was hearing from fans, Bellinger said after the game that he didn’t think the curtain call was required, but he was happy to have made it up the steps. After his MVP season in 2019, Bellinger had back-to-back subpar seasons at the plate, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has consistently stood up for Bellinger.
It was a spectacular moment in yet another thrilling chapter of the Dodgers-Giants rivalry, even though Bellinger hasn’t been able to deliver at the plate this season. While hitting a grand slam in favour of your team to give them a commanding lead is always fantastic, it might be the finest.