LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers are rolling and rookie slugger Cody Bellinger is one of the reasons why.
“It’s unbelievable,” New York Mets manager Terry Collins said. “When this guy swings the bat, he hits it on the barrel. Pretty impressive.”
Collins had a front-row seat to watch Bellinger’s exploits Monday night. Bellinger homered twice and drove in four runs in a 10-6 victory over the Mets in the opening game of their four-game series.
Collins is hoping for a different outcome Tuesday. A pair of right-handers, New York’s Robert Gsellman (5-4, 5.50 ERA) and Los Angeles’ Brandon McCarthy (5-3, 3.14 ERA), will oppose each other in the second game of the series at Dodger Stadium.
Bellinger was 3-for-5 with four RBIs in Monday’s win. Although his hitting has generated plenty of superlatives from many around the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts likes the way Bellinger has grown during his short major-league stint.
“I think that his maturity in a lot of different situations he’s been in on in his young career he continues to pass tests,” Roberts said.
Bellinger is the fastest rookie to hit 21 home runs, doing so in just 51 games. That’s a tad quicker than it was done by New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (2015-16) and Boston Braves outfielder Wally Berger (1930), who both hit 20 in the same number of contests.
Bellinger has contributed to the Dodgers’ run at first in the National League West. They trail the Colorado Rockies, who visit Dodger Stadium for a three-game set this weekend, by a half-game.
The Dodgers have scored 70 runs in the past 10 games.
“I don’t know or really don’t care how many runs we scored. I think it’s a great number, but if we have the intent one through eight like we have the shown the last two weeks, we’re going to be just fine,” Roberts said.
McCarthy limited the Cleveland Indians to a run on three hits in 5 1/3 innings in his last start but did not factor into the decision. McCarthy is 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA in six starts at Dodger Stadium.
In two career starts against the Mets, McCarthy is 0-2 with a 3.55 ERA. He hasn’t faced them since April 16, 2014, when he was member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. McCarthy struck out five and walked three, giving up three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-2 loss.
Gsellman, who grew up in nearby Santa Monica, was knocked around for seven runs and a career-high 11 hits in five innings in an 8-3 loss to the Washington Nationals on Thursday. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Gsellman, who walked three and struck out three.
Gsellman will be facing the Dodgers for the first time. He has compiled a 4-1 record with a 4.32 ERA on the road.
The Mets (31-38) would like to gain some traction during their 10-game swing away from home. They have lost four of the past five. Although they had chances to rally against the Dodgers, knocking Clayton Kershaw around for six runs and a career-worst four home runs, they fell short.
“We couldn’t stop them,” Collins said. “Certainly, those add-on runs at the end of the game came back to hurt us.”