Muncy, Gallo provide power as LA inches closer to clinching

September 7th, 2022

LOS ANGELES – The top four in the Dodgers’ order get all the attention, and deservingly so. Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman are three of the best players in the world. Will Smith is arguably the best hitting catcher in the Majors.

But when the Dodgers are at their best, seems to be right in the middle of it.

Muncy showed that on Tuesday, recording his first multi-homer game of the season to carry the Dodgers to a 6-3 win over the Giants at Dodger Stadium. Muncy now has 20 career homers against the Giants, his second-most against an opposing team, behind the Rockies (21).

With the win, the Dodgers’ magic number to win the National League West is down to seven.

“He’s just taking really consistent at-bats,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “Really happy for him. He’s been obviously grinding all year just to get to this position and, like I’ve always said, he’s a big part of what we’re doing as an offense. When he’s doing well, it seems like guys feed off that.”

Muncy’s season has been quite the rollercoaster ride. The two-time All-Star suffered a torn left UCL on the last game of the regular season in 2021 and came into camp not feeling 100 percent. He felt the elbow was good enough to begin the season on the active roster, but the results said otherwise.

After struggling for nearly two months, the Dodgers decided to place Muncy on the injured list, giving him time to reset his mechanics and get the elbow healthy. When he returned, the results didn’t immediately follow. Instead, the struggles continued for another month. The chatter of potentially losing at-bats got louder.

The Dodgers, however, remained steadfast in allowing Muncy to play through it. That patience eventually paid off as Muncy went on a tear at the plate, hitting six homers in a 15-game stretch in August.

“He was at rock bottom. He was really scuffling,” Roberts said. “So for him to rework some things and be open, speaks a lot of him.”

Unfortunately for the Dodgers and Muncy, the two-time All-Star went through another skid at the plate, entering Tuesday’s game 7-for-48 with no homers in his last 12 games. Before the game, Muncy said he made some tweaks to his mechanics. It paid off, as he tallied a pair of homers, hitting a two-run homer off left-hander Jarlín García in the third and a solo homer off right-hander Dominic Leone in the sixth.

It’s the type of power the Dodgers have grown accustomed to getting from Muncy. It’s also what they’ll need if they want to have the level of success they’re hoping for in October and early November.

“It’s one of those things where what I had been doing finally felt comfortable,” Muncy said. “And because it felt comfortable, I felt like I needed to feel it again. So I was just making too big of a move and I needed to quiet down again.”

Aside from Muncy’s two-homer night, the Dodgers got contributions from and Tyler Anderson, who allowed three runs in seven innings for his fifth quality start in his last six outings.

Gallo got the Dodgers on the board in the second, hitting a three-run homer off García. It was Gallo’s eighth hit against a lefty this season and just his second homer.

Gallo was acquired at the Deadline from the Yankees with the idea he’d hit right-handed pitching. The Dodgers are still waiting for consistency from the two-time All-Star, but maybe a timely homer off a southpaw is a sign that Gallo is getting closer at the plate.

“I’ve hit lefties pretty well throughout my career. This year I haven’t hit anybody well to start the year,” Gallo said. “I’m just continuing to grow and get back to where I feel like I can be.”

With Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor struggling at the plate, getting Gallo going could be big for the Dodgers over the last month. They’re a more dangerous lineup when Muncy and Gallo are hitting for power. That was on full display in another steamy night at Dodger Stadium.

“Every game, every opportunity is important,” Roberts said. “We’re evaluating every day because when that point comes, we’re going to have to go with the guys that are playing the best.”