Dodgers News: Cody Bellinger ‘Never’ Wants To Play Tampa Bay Rays In September

The Los Angeles Dodgers finished 10-10 in Interleague play this season after splitting a series with the Tampa Bay Rays at Dodger Stadium to match the previous result from playing two games at Tropicana Field back in May.

Whereas the Rays used an opener in both of those games, the Dodgers returned the favor by scrapping an initial plan to start Ross Stripling and Tony Gonsolin and instead going with Caleb Ferguson and Casey Sadler, respectively.

The bullpen games and array of pitching changes by both teams left Cody Bellinger wishing against the Dodgers won’t play the Rays during the month of September in seasons ahead. “Hopefully we never have to play them in September,” he said.

“No flow to the game, but we did a great job of grinding. It was a really good game.”

Tuesday’s game saw 42 players used, split evenly between the teams. The exclusive YouTube broadcast ran 3 hours and 43 minutes, which is 38 minutes longer than the average length of game for the 2019 season.

Wednesday’s series finale saw 49 players appear, with the Rays’ accounting for 25 of those. The 11-inning affair stretched 4 hours and 40 minutes, essentially minimizing the effect of a 5:10 p.m. PT start on getaway day for the Rays.

Though Bellinger lamented the lack of rhythm during the series — certainly a fair observation — he managed to end a 12-game home run drought on Wednesday by driving his 45th off the foul pole in right field.

“That was really good to see,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Cody got beat on a fastball earlier, legged out a double, but they tried to go to the well one too many times and he beat them to the spot. He put the barrel to it and kept it fair.

“Really good swing and a lot of what he did early on in the season. I know he’s been working really hard to clean things up with his bat path. He’s in a good place.”

If the Dodgers and Rays are to meet again during the final month of the regular season, it will come under vastly different circumstances with respect to expanded rosters. Beginning with the 2020 season, active rosters will expand to 26 but be pared down from permitting 40 in September to 28.