The Los Angeles Dodgers have lost three games in a row for the first time in the 2022 season and they also have dropped four of their last five.
Their offense let them down in their first two losses, scoring one and three runs, respectively, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. While it has been pitching that faltered in their 9-7 and 12-10 losses to the Philadelphia Phillies.
While it would be hard for the Dodgers to make any changes to their pitching staff due to the injuries they are dealing with, manager Dave Roberts is considering making changes to his lineup as he looks to find a spark, which may include dropping Max Muncy out of the cleanup spot.
“I need to continue to think about that,” Roberts said. “For me, I’m more of a guy that gives guys more of a leash than not if the process is right. But certainly, we’ve seen him struggle getting hits. He’s still walking and getting on base, so we’ll see.”
So far this season, Muncy has struggled to produce at his expected All-Star level. He is batting just .147/.341/.295 with three home runs, a .303 wOBA and 97 wRC+ in 123 plate appearances.
However, Muncy has still been about league average thanks to his 27 walks and the production across the sport being down because of the deadened baseballs.
In April, Muncy said it’s been a struggle to get back to where he was before his season-ending elbow injury from last year because of the mental hurdle he needs to clear.
“My elbow was in little pieces, so no it’s not as much of a surprise to me,” Muncy said when asked if he was surprised to have the lingering concerns about his elbow. “It’s just, you’ve got to keep moving forward and keep doing it day by day.”
From his Dodgers debut in 2018 through the 2021 season, Muncy was among the best hitters on the team and in baseball, so it’s fair to expect he is capable of turning his season around. During that time period, the 2021 All-Star hit .246/.371/.520 with 118 home runs, a .376 wOBA, and the 15th highest wRC+ in baseball at 137.
But until he is able to find his swing again, it would make sense to drop Muncy in the lineup to help take some pressure off him to perform.
The Dodgers lineup has still been productive when compared to most lineups in the sport as they are hitting .241/.327/.394, which is 10% better than league average this season (which ranks eighth among clubs), and they rank third in runs scored with 156.
Roberts remains confident in Muncy
Although Muncy has not had much success this season, Roberts previously expressed confidence the 31-year-old will be able to rebound.
“I think he’s starting to come around. It hasn’t shown itself. I think there’s obviously a lot of talk about hitters not getting rewarded for quality contact; I think it’s real,” Roberts said last week.
“So I think the internal struggle is to keep going when you’re not getting the results. There’s been some good at-bats, solid contact, he’s still taking walks, I still like the quality of at-bat. It’s easy to bet there’s going to be positive results coming.”
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