Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Sees Max Muncy’s Struggles As Twofold
Max Muncy
Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers concluded the first half of the regular season with a bang, pushing 11 runs across the plate as part of a seven-home run outburst to complete a sweep of the Colorado Rockies.

Among those that went deep was Max Muncy, who is starting to turn a corner at the plate. He extended his hitting streak to three games with a 2-for-3 showing and reached base one additional time via walk.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts blamed Muncy’s early struggles on mechanical adjustments and overthinking in the box. “I think it’s a combo,” Roberts began.

“I think at times it was more of trying to think along with the pitcher. I think a little bit also is the mechanics, not staying in his legs and not being able to stay through the baseball. Max will be fine.”

Muncy was forced to change his mechanics after fracturing his left ring finger in Summer Camp. He admitted the injury created a mental challenge that was difficult to overcome.

“I think that’s part of it too,” Roberts said of Muncy’s previously fractured finger being a factor in his slow start. “To have a broken finger, to not being able to get to balls on in the inner part of the plate and fire on them, there might be something to that.

“Typically, he really handles the ball close to him really well. This year, not as much. Certainly that could be seeped into his mind, the psyche of it a little bit. Now that we’re past the pain, hopefully we can get past that potential mental hurdle.”

Like many of his Dodgers teammates, Muncy looked to take advantage of extra swings in a
simulated game. “We don’t have Minor League arms, and the guys that we do have, we might need them in the games,” Roberts said.

“Having that secondary site, I think it was great for Eddie Ramos to come over here and throw. And for Muncy to get live, simulated at-bats, I thought was very beneficial.

“If given the opportunity it does make sense, in particular for bench guys who don’t get every day at-bats, if you have extra arms around to throw to guys. To see us take advantage of that was beneficial for everyone.”

Over the past week, Muncy is hitting .263/.333/.579 with two home runs in 19 at-bats. On the year, he’s batting an overall .192/.315/.413 (98 OPS+) with two doubles, seven home runs and 13 RBI in 104 at-bats.

Roberts never lost faith in Muncy amid struggles

After a solid performance against the L.A. Angels last week, Roberts felt Muncy was on the cusp of breaking out of his slump. “Max is closer than it appears. I really do believe that,” Roberts said after Muncy’s sacrifice fly in extra innings lifted the Dodgers to a win in extra innings.

“I think there were some calls in the last couple games that really flipped counts, and that makes it a little bit tougher. That happens; more so when you’re not going well.”

Muncy then hit a home run in the Freeway Series finale as the Dodgers completed a sweep of the Angels. “I wasn’t seeing the lower chase the last few days, I saw more aggressive and better swings,” Roberts explained.

“And when I see him not hitting the ball, releasing the barrel and grounders to the pull side, I know he’s on his way to getting out of something. When he gets his direction to the big part of the field, he’s as good as anybody in baseball.”

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