Despite tying a franchise record 106 wins to end the 2021 season, the Dodgers have been damned to the NL Wild Card Game to face the St. Louis Cardinals. What hurts even more is the fact they’ll gave to do so without the help of longtime ace Clayton Kershaw and slugging first baseman Max Muncy.
Kershaw sustained an elbow injury in his last outing that’s likely to keep him out for the entirety of the postseason. As for Muncy, he sustained an elbow injury as well but by a collision at first base. While Dave Roberts didn’t rule him out for the whole postseason, he’ll miss the Wild Card Game and possibly the NLDS if the Dodgers advance. The Dodgers can surely cover up the hole in the rotation, but what about the one Muncy left?
Dave Roberts declined to reveal who would fill in for him, instead stating that it would be dependent on who is on the mound for the opposing team.
“I think it’s just more match-up driven and figuring out what’s going to give us the best chance to win that game, net out the offense potential and the defense as well.”
Adam Wainwright is scheduled to start for the Cardinals on Wednesday, so it would be a surprise to see Albert Pujols get the nod at first, at least to start the game. That leaves Matt Beaty and Cody Bellinger as the only other two Dodgers with experience at the position.
Cody came up as a first baseman before transitioning into the team’s centerfielder. However, he’s struggled this year to get much going offensively and his cold bat would still leave a hole. Beaty has been something of an afterthought for Doc this season. He’s been sent down to the minors and unable to get starts because of his less capable defense, yet when given at-bats he’s absolutely raked. He hit .371 with 3 home runs and 10 RBI in his last 35 at-bats.
Crazy things tend to happen in the postseason and roles get thrown out the window. However, Doc has shown that he’s more likely to stick with analytics and play matchups even in the playoffs. Yet maybe he should go with who has the hot bat right now.