It might be time to really address an elephant in the room for the Dodgers. All season long, slugger Max Muncy has batted near the top of the batting order while stumbling through the 60 game season with a .192 batting average. Still, he connected on 12 home runs and walked 39 times to help give him a .331 on-base percentage.
While that’s all well and good in the regular season, there’s nowhere near as much leash in the postseason. And, notably, Max is still struggling in the playoffs, albeit in only 2 games. Last week against Milwaukee in the Wild Card series, he went hitless but picked up a pair of walks in 7 plate appearances.
With that, Dave Roberts was asked on Sunday how secure Muncy’s spot in the lineup is going forward.
He’ll be in the middle of our lineup. I still think that the first game taking a couple walks. The second game I thought he got off some really good swings, just didn’t make contact. But I still think that he’s seeing the baseball considerably better and I like him where he’s at.
Dave expanded on that third line — which… yeah, looks a lot worse when your read over when you hear it — to say that he felt some of Max’s swings in NLWC game 2 were better than some of the swings he’d taken during the middle of the season. So that’s a thing.
Despite the MLB-leading 43-17 record, Muncy struggled to get it going all season long. In his finest stretch of games, the infielder triple slashed .333/.465/636 over 10 games (August 21-September 1). During that stretch, he batted fifth or later in the lineup in 7 of 10 games, perhaps shining a light on the lower pressure spots in the batting order.
There’s no doubt that the Dodgers lineup is deep 1-9 any way you write it up. But if there’s an option for potential added production with a simple swap in the order, the hope is that Doc and the organization explore it sooner rather than later.
The Dodgers next play on Tuesday against the Padres in MLB’s playoff bubble in Arlington, Texas. Right-hander Walker Buehler takes the ball in game 1.