Amidst a period of change and adjustments leading up to the trade deadline, Dave Roberts claims he’s “sticking with his guns” by keeping Max Muncy in the Dodgers’ starting lineup.
Despite the lack of contact and power from the veteran, the LA manager is holding out hope Muncy can still return to form (quotes via Manny Randhawa at MLB.com). And with that, he’s going to keep running him out there.
“The results haven’t been there consistently, I’m aware of that, but I do think that stuff under the hood has shown better for me. … I’m going to continue to give him runway. I certainly still expect quality at-bats, but right now, I’m gonna ride with Max. … It’s gonna be that way until it’s not.”
This season, Muncy has struggled mightily at the plate. In fact, he is posting his worst season since joining the Dodgers back in 2018. Coming off rough seasons with the Oakland Athletics, Muncy’s career took off after joining the LA roster that year. From 2018-2021, Mad Max slugged 118 home runs, hitting at least 35 in each non-covid season. Now, the 31-year-old heads into August with a pedestrian .161/.310/.303 slash line over 339 plate appearances this season.
In the past, Muncy has been a dominant force in the Dodger lineup. Now the two-time All-Star and former World Series hero looks like a shell of himself.
That success was all before he tore his UCL in his left elbow at the end of the 2021 regular season. Prior to the injury, Muncy was in fine form, but he just hasn’t be able to return to that form especially after suffering elbow inflammation earlier this season as well.
As long as Roberts has hope, so does Muncy. He’s aware of his slump and said he’s trusting himself hoping things will turn around soon.
“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t [get harder as the season goes on without significant improvement] but [Roberts sticking with me] is a result of the player that I am — not necessarily what I’ve done in the past, but just that I show up every day with a clear head and try to help this team win. And I show up every day willing to work, willing to listen. If I was stubborn about that stuff, I don’t think I would have that support.”
Not only has his batting been off but also his defense as he’s accumulated 6 errors in the Dodgers’ past 44 games including one last night as well as multiple pass balls.
Roberts chalks it up as “things happen…it’s just baseball.”
Muncy and Roberts a whole lot of good things start to happen for the slugger.
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