Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Expecting to face St. Louis Cardinals starter Matthew Liberatore, the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup for the series opener at Busch Stadium included a bevy of right-handed batters. That amounted to the likes of Max Muncy and Gavin Lux beginning the night on the bench.
Both wound up appearing in the 7-6 loss that snapped the Dodgers’ winning streak at seven games, going a combined 0-for-2. But it was Muncy’s at-bat that loomed particularly large.
Having already scored a run in the seventh inning, the Dodgers loaded the bases with nobody out. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called on Muncy to pinch-hit for Trayce Thompson, which the Cardinals countered by going to Packy Naughton in favor of Junior Fernández.
Muncy got ahead in the count 3-1 but flied out to shallow center field. Despite the empty at-bat, Roberts said he felt calling on Muncy was the best option rather than leaving Thompson in for a right-on-right matchup with Fernández, via SportsNet LA:
“I just felt right there, to get Fernández out of the game, get Max in there, the lefty is a neutral guy. Max got a 3-1 fastball and popped it up. We couldn’t have asked for a better situation. We’ve just got to execute right there. It just didn’t happen.”
Following Muncy’s out, Hanser Alberto lifted a fly ball to left field that also wasn’t deep enough for Freddie Freeman to tag, and Cody Bellinger struck out to end the threat.
That Roberts turned to Muncy was hardly a surprise, as he historically is among the Dodgers’ everyday players who is in the lineup regardless of the opposing pitcher’s handedness. On the season, Muncy is 9-for-61 with one double, three home runs, 10 RBI and 11 walks against southpaws.
Muncy trying to take renewed approach
Having gotten off to a slow start this season and after spending time on the 10-day injured list for a mental reset and to allow his right elbow to heal, Muncy said he views each game as an opportunity to wash away the struggles.
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