Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Belli vs. Yeli? Cody calls HR race exciting

Dodgers outfielder on pace to set franchise single-season record
@paul_casella
July 17, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- Cody Bellinger doesn't know how long his latest stint atop the Major League home run leaderboard will last, but he admitted it's fun just to be in the race. After clubbing a pair of homers on Monday, Bellinger maintained the Major League lead with his 34th home run

PHILADELPHIA -- Cody Bellinger doesn't know how long his latest stint atop the Major League home run leaderboard will last, but he admitted it's fun just to be in the race.

After clubbing a pair of homers on Monday, Bellinger maintained the Major League lead with his 34th home run in Tuesday’s 9-8 walk-off loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. That kept him one ahead of Brewers outfielder -- and fellow National League MVP Award candidate -- Christian Yelich, who hit a grand slam on Tuesday for his 33rd homer of 2019. Pete Alonso (30) and Mike Trout (30) are also squarely within striking distance.

Bellinger knocked his 31st homer of the season on Saturday to move into a tie with Yelich. The reigning NL MVP Award winner responded by hitting his 32nd on Sunday, only to have Bellinger leapfrog him with his two-homer performance on Monday. As for Tuesday, it marked the 10th time this season that the duo homered on the same day.

"It’s pretty cool, for sure," Bellinger said. "Lot of season left, though, with a lot of dudes that are close. So I’m just going to enjoy it for now."

Bellinger would be just the third player in franchise history to win the Major League home run title outright. The others are Adrian Beltre, who hit 48 in 2004, and first baseman Tim Jordan, who led the Majors with 12 homers as a member of the 1908 Brooklyn Superbas.

"It’s exciting, but at the end of the day, we’ve still got almost 70 games left," Bellinger said. "That’s a lot of time for a lot of things to happen, and other guys to hit a lot of home runs. I’m just trying to do what I can to help us win games, and something like that would just be a bonus."

Along with joining the exclusive list of Dodgers players to win a home run title, Bellinger is also on pace to set the franchise record for homers in a single season. That mark is currently 49, set by Shawn Green in 2001. Bellinger began play Tuesday on pace to hit 56 homers in '19.

Muncy named Heart and Hustle Award recipient

Infielder Max Muncy was named the Dodgers' recipient of the 2019 Heart & Hustle Award on Tuesday.

The honor, which is voted on by former players, is given to the player who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game. Individual winners from all 30 teams were named on Tuesday, while an overall winner will be crowned after the season.

"It means a lot. It’s one of those things where I try to play the game like that every single day," Muncy said. "I try to play as hard as I can, and not hold anything back. I know it's cliche, but I really do try to play every game like it’s my last. For other people to kind of recognize that’s how I play the game, that means a lot to me and kind of shows that I’m doing the right thing."

Muncy added that it was especially rewarding to represent a team that he believes has a number of deserving candidates. After all, the announcement came one day after manager Dave Roberts lauded Muncy's teammates, Bellinger and Matt Beaty, for their hustle on separate plays in the ninth inning of a game the Dodgers were leading by double digits.

"It’s definitely a culture we’ve created in this clubhouse," Muncy said. "It’s one of those things that we kind of talk about it a lot -- how that’s the way we want guys to play. You could pick just about any guy in this clubhouse and they'd be just as deserving. So to be recognized as maybe kind of being one of the leaders of that, it’s pretty special."

The overall winner will be revealed on Nov. 7 at the 20th annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York. This event is the primary fundraiser for the MLBPAA's series of free Legends for Youth Clinics. These clinics impact more than 19,000 children each year at 185 clinics, allowing them the unique opportunity to interact with and learn from players who have left a lasting impact on the game of baseball.

Paul Casella is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.