With Cody Bellinger nursing his way back from left hamstring tightness, he started at first base on Tuesday for the first time this season. It of course is Bellinger’s natural position, and perhaps that was a factor in his attempt to make a spectacular play for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But rather than backpick Buster Posey at third base, Bellinger airmailed his throw to third base. Posey jogged home to score what held as the game-winning run for the San Francisco Giants in their 2-1 victory.
“I pump-faked at second to try to get Posey off the base, and when I looked I saw him off the base enough that a good throw gets him,” Bellinger explained after the loss. “I absolutely just threw it. It just slipped out of my hand. There’s no excuse. I just threw it too high.”
While Bellinger’s misplay led to the Dodgers allowing another game to slip away to the Giants late, he reasoned the attempt was worth trying. “I think a good throw gets him,” Bellinger reiterated.
“I have to go back and watch it, but when I saw him turn, he had his momentum toward home. J.T. was right there, so I think a good throw gets him. Obviously there’s also the safe play and letting Blake (Treinen) try to get out of that inning because he’s got nasty stuff.”
Replays made it reasonable to believe Max Muncy’s momentum carrying him toward first base after the brief rundown was also a factor for the off-target throw. Bellinger couldn’t definitively say if that was the case, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts highlighted that factor.
“I think upon release, he saw Muncy a little bit and kind of overshot it,” Roberts said. “Cody’s obviously got arm strength and a very accurate arm, so it’s one of those plays that was a surprise to everybody. He’s got good feel, just didn’t make a good throw.
“I think Muncy might have been in his sightline.”
Bellinger encouraged with health
Heading into the series opener at Oracle Park, Roberts said he instructed Bellinger to be mindful of his hamstring trouble when on the bases. His single in the fifth inning was the Dodgers’ first hit off Logan Webb, and Bellinger later scored on Billy McKinney’s line drive into center field.
“Hamstring is good. I got to run the bases on McKinney’s single and got off relatively fast, so the hammy is good,” Bellinger said.
Roberts added: “It was good getting him out there. Obviously people are going to look at the play in the eighth inning, but just getting him out there. … He’ll be back in there [Wednesday], most likely at first base, but where he’s trending, I see him in the outfield on Thursday.
“It was good to have him out there.”
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