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Cody Bellinger picked the worst time to slump for the Dodgers

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Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger‘s struggles continued on Friday night in Game 3 of the World Series, as the presumptive National League Rookie of the Year Award winner went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. He’s now 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts in the World Series.

Most of Bellinger’s at-bats weren’t even competitive. He went down on two called strikes and a swinging strike three — all curve balls from Lance McCullers — in the second inning. In the fourth, he took a first-pitch fastball, a curve for a ball, fouled off a curve, then struck out swinging on a curve. In the sixth, he swung and missed at a curve, fouled off a curve, then whiffed again on a curve for another three-pitch strikeout against McCullers. At least in the eighth, he saw more than a smattering of pitches, ultimately whiffing on the eighth consecutive fastball he saw from reliever Brad Peacock.

Bellinger strikes out a lot. It’s part of the give-and-take with being a power hitter. His 26.6 percent strikeout rate was 16th highest among qualified hitters during the regular season. He was the leadoff batter in an inning three times in Game 2 and twice more in Game 3. Working a walk, putting the ball in play — heck, even just working a deep count more than once in 11 plate appearances would be beneficial, even if it means shortening his swing a bit. Both the approach and the results have been horrendous thus far.

Bellinger didn’t set the world on fire in the NLDS or NLCS, but he was still productive, batting an aggregate .278/.316/.500 with a pair of doubles and a pair of home runs with two walks and 12 strikeouts in 38 plate appearances. That’s a bit below what he produced in the regular season — he slashed .267/.352/.581 — but the Dodgers would happily take that version of Bellinger over the one they’ve seen thus far.

The Astros lead the World Series two games to one with two more home games remaining. If the Dodgers want to send this series back to Los Angeles, Bellinger needs to wake up.

Anthony Rendon explains why he didn’t go to the White House

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Today the Angels introduced their newest big star, Anthony Rendon, who just signed a seven-year, $245 million contract to play in Orange County.

And it is Orange County, not Los Angeles, Rendon stressed at the press conference. When asked about the Dodgers, who had also been reported to be courting him, Rendon said he preferred the Angels because, “the Hollywood lifestyle . . . didn’t seem like it would be a fit for us as a family.”

What “the Hollywood Lifestyle” means in that context could mean a lot of things I suppose. It could be about the greater media scrutiny Dodgers players are under compared to Angels players. It could mean that he’d simply prefer to live in Newport Beach than, I dunno, wherever Dodgers players live. Pasadena? Pasadena is more convenient to Dodger Stadium than the beach. Who knows. They never did let Yasiel Puig get that helicopter he wanted, so traffic could’ve been a consideration.

But maybe it’s a subtle allusion to political/cultural stuff. Orange County has trended to the left in some recent elections but it is, historically speaking, a conservative stronghold in Southern California. And, based on something else he said in his press conference, Rendon seems to be pretty conscious of geographical/political matters:

A shoutout to the notion of Texas being Trump country and an askance glance at “the Hollywood Lifestyle” of Los Angeles all in the same press conference. That’s a lot of culture war ground covered in one press conference. So much so that I can’t decide if I should warn Rendon that both Texas and Orange County are trending leftward or if I should tell him to stick to sports.