Inside Cody Bellinger’s blast: Going deep on Game 1’s biggest moment

  • Sports reporter, Kansas City Star, 2002-09
  • Writer, Baseball, Baseball Prospectus
  • Co-author, Pro Basketball Prospectus
  • Member, Baseball Writers Association of America
  • Member, Professional Basketball Writers Association

Before the Los Angeles Dodgers turned Game 1 of the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays into a laugher, the rout started with an unlikely home run. The play in question is Cody Bellinger’s fourth-inning, two-run blast off Tyler Glasnow. In a sense, any time Bellinger goes deep, it can hardly be called unlikely. But for Bellinger to go deep on that pitch, against that pitcher, was fairly remarkable.

Let’s set the situation: The game was scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, with the L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw and Glasnow putting up matching zeros. Max Muncy walked to start the fourth and went to second on a grounder to bring Bellinger to the plate.

In terms of leverage index, the matchup between Bellinger and Glasnow was the sixth highest of the game. At 1.52, it rose to the statistical definition of high leverage (depending on where you draw the lines), but no doubt it was a big moment, the kind that you encounter in tight, low-scoring games. The moment also was heightened by the fact that it was, you know, the World Series.

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