Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts outlined a plan to have Max Muncy make regular starts at third base moving forward, but he was at second base for the series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies.
And with the Dodgers one out away from completing a three-game series sweep at Citizens Bank Park, Muncy booted a routine ground ball that led to two runs scoring in a 4-3 walk-off win for the Phillies in the 10th inning.
Further magnifying Muncy’s blunder was it bookended an inning that began with Justin Turner pulling off a successful deke to tag out J.T. Realmuto at third base.
Following the Dodgers’ loss that ended their seven-game winning streak, Muncy explained his misplay on the grounder was a result of not providing himself with ample room on a higher-than-normal hop, via SportsNet LA:
“It was a long, hot day, field dried out a little bit, and I just didn’t give myself enough space, knowing that the ball was going to bounce a little higher on a drier field. The ball hopped up on me and I just didn’t make the play. … That’s something that you know as an infielder on day games, as the day goes on, the field is going to get harder and the ball is going to bounce more and take funny hops.
“It was a slow-hit ball, so I came charging in and stopped but didn’t give myself enough space, knowing it was going to bounce higher. That was an unfortunate circumstance and then I couldn’t find the ball.”
Muncy’s error added to what’s been a frustrating regular season thus far. He’s coming off a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow that was suffered on the final day of the 2021 regular season, and acknowledged a full recovery likely would not be made until next year.
Muncy went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the loss, including one that came with the bases loaded in the top of the 10th.
Roberts confident in Muncy
When recently discussing Muncy’s slow start to the season, Roberts downplayed having concern and highlighted his ability to put together a strong at-bat and draw walks.
“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 recently said.
“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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