MILWAUKEE — The door to Dave Roberts’ office stayed shut a little longer than usual after Monday night’s game.
Inside, the Dodgers manager had sat down Cody Bellinger, the former MVP center fielder who, amid another up-and-down season, had started slumping again over the past week.
There was no reprimanding Bellinger’s effort. No admonishing his attitude or work ethic.
But there was an acknowledgment that, with the slugger’s numbers dipping again, Roberts felt it was time to give the 27-year-old a midseason “reset,” telling Bellinger he would sit for the next couple games.
“He’s been, I guess we all use the word ‘grinding’ a lot,” Roberts said Tuesday afternoon, after he’d indeed left Bellinger out of the lineup for the second game of the Dodgers’ series against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field.
“We had a good conversation, and this is more kind of playing the short-term and the long-term view to best serve him,” Roberts added. “This is a chance to give him one last chance to reset, get away from things, not worry about getting hits, cheering for his teammates and then get back in there and finish strong.”
For Bellinger, this week’s development is nothing new.
Ever since he won his MVP award with a 47-home run campaign in 2019, the two-time All-Star has spiraled into what is now a three-year tailspin.
He regressed during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season — though he had several key contributions to the Dodgers’ World Series run — then bottomed out last year, when he battled injuries and got caught up being “too internal” while batting a woeful .165 with just 10 home runs.
This year, Bellinger insisted Tuesday, feels different.