Cincinnati – In the context of baseball, Max Muncie has lost his superpower.
In his last 35 games before Sunday, the Dodgers’ first baseman has been thrown into a slump while batting .197, with a .275 on-base percentage nearly 100 points short of his career benchmark.
Muncie has continued to score home runs (11 in that time) but has stopped drawing walks – only 12 in 142 plate appearances after drawing walks for every 6.2 plate appearances before this slump. The walkout has been replaced by a strikeout – 37 of his last 127 at-bats during the first two games in Cincinnati, including six in seven at-bats.
“No. 1 Is he chasing more. It’s pretty obvious,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think he has a unique ability to watch baseball and be in the strike zone. He has been following for the last 30 days. He’s gone in a few homers which have been great. But I think he is more than a one-dimensional home run hitter. He’s an on-base guy, uses the whole ground.”
Roberts offered no explanation for Muncie’s departure from his usual approach, but he did raise the possibility that Muncie – who has been in the NL MVP discussion – may have become aware of his stats.
“You never want to think that someone is chasing numbers,” Roberts said. “I think literally and figuratively he’s chasing and he’s expanding. We have to get him back in the strike zone. That’s when he does his best.”
Roberts replaced Muncie on Sunday against Reds left-hander Wade Miley (against whom Muncie is 1 in 5 with two strikeouts in his career). A back-to-back day off (the Dodgers are closed on Mondays) will give Muncie a chance to “re-set”.
It’s perhaps not a coincidence that the Dodgers’ offense overall hasn’t been as productive with Muncie’s decline. First in the National League and second in baseball in runs scored on the All-Star break, the Dodgers have dropped to eighth in the National League and 15th overall since the break.
Roberts acknowledged that what Muncie brings to the Dodgers lineup is “very” essential. He pointed to last year’s post season when “we saw his best.” Muncie hit .250 during the Dodgers World Series run, but had a .438 on-base percentage thanks to 20 walks in 18 games. He scored 14 runs and scored 12 runs.
“I know what makes him special is his ability to walk on base and drive,” Roberts said. “You take what the pitcher gives you. And he got away with it.
“He is a top-order, middle-order guy. What makes us special is being able to run the count and get to base and build traffic and that’s a big part of it. So when he’s chasing and out of zone, it’s a big zero. …hopefully he’ll come back to do what makes him special. ”
In a move first reported by Ken Rosenthal in The Athletic, Major League Baseball has notified teams to allow all non-playing personnel — managers, coaches and staff on or off the field — to have at least one COVID vaccination. shot must be received. Other restricted areas during the latter part of the season.
The requirement could potentially prevent coaches from working directly with players to hit or pitch if those coaches have not been vaccinated.
The Dodgers reached the 85 percent limit of Tier 1 personnel (players, coaches and staff) earlier this season to ease some protocols. However, when the team went to the White House in July, hitting coach Robert Van Skoyok wore a mask and fellow hitting coach Brant Brown did not attend.
“I know it’s not a problem for me personally. I’m waxed,” Roberts said. “We got the memo. We’re going to discuss something. I’m not talking to any coaches specifically right now. I want to do it. But whatever is told to us, we will follow it. We will take care of it.”
Roberts stressed that he does not anticipate the need to be a problem for the Dodgers.
“I don’t,” he said.
After revealing on Saturday that outfielder Cody Bellinger suffered a non-displaced fracture to his left side earlier in the week, Roberts said he did not expect Bellinger to stop playing and that he Will be in the lineup on Sunday.
Bellinger was not in the starting lineup on Sunday.
“He is feeling better. Talking to him yesterday, he was hoping that he would join the starting lineup today,” Roberts said on Sunday morning. “I spoke to him this morning and we feel like They will get more benefit from tomorrow’s holiday. We will try and stay away from him but if we need to meet him at some point, we will do so.
The Dodgers are closed Mondays.
The Dodgers (LHP Julio Ureas 18-3, 2.99 ERA) at the Rockies (RHP Antonio Sanztella 4-9, 4.06 ERA) Tuesday at 5:40 pm, Sportsnet LA, 570 am