Muncy homers vs. SF again, now with bat flip

May 28th, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- After having a down regular season in 2020, Dodgers first baseman hit three homers last postseason, helping L.A. win its first World Series since 1988.

While winning the World Series certainly helped erase some of Muncy’s frustrations, he admitted that his slow regular season served as extra motivation coming into 2021. He added that his numbers have never mattered to him, but he knows the more he produces, the better the Dodgers are as a team.

So far this season, it’s hard to find a player who is doing more for his team than Muncy, and that was all on display again as he delivered the go-ahead homer in the Dodgers’ 4-3 win over the Giants on Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

“Max, right now, I think you could argue, is one of the top two or three baseball players in the game,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

For the third time in two weeks, the Dodgers deployed an effective bullpen game. led a string of seven relievers with 2 2/3 scoreless innings as the opener. Offensively, hit his first Major League homer and opened the scoring with a two-run blast in the third.

But with the game tied at 3 in the sixth, it was Muncy who delivered the big hit, which has been a familiar sight for the Dodgers so far this season. Muncy broke the tie, launching an Alex Wood sinker into deep right-center field to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead. The homer came with a bit of a bat flip as well. It was Muncy’s 11th homer of the season and the third against the Giants.

Muncy has homered in three consecutive games against the Giants, tying Jeff Kent, Mark Grudzielanek and Turner for the second-longest streak by a Dodgers player against the team’s longtime foe. Only Duke Snider has a longer streak, homering in four consecutive games against San Francisco in 1961.

“That’s the type of hitter he is,” Price said. “He’s a selective hitter, he controls the strike zone extremely well. It’s good to see him heat up. It was only a matter of time for him. Happy to see him get it going and start hitting homers and a lot of big hits for us.”

While Muncy has dominated the Giants so far this season, San Francisco is certainly not the only team that has fallen victim to Muncy’s impressive campaign to date.

As the Dodgers battled injuries last month, teams were not giving Muncy many pitches to hit, daring him to chase out of the zone or have somebody else beat them. Muncy was gladly accepting his walks, and he leads the Majors with 42 free passes. But as the bottom of the order continues to produce for the Dodgers, Muncy has gotten more pitches to hit. And he hasn’t missed many of them.

“The adjustments we’ve been trying to make for the beginning part of the year, they’re finally taking hold, and I feel like I’ve been getting a lot of good swings off on some good pitches,” Muncy said. “It’s a lot of fun. I feel pretty locked in.”

Muncy wouldn’t reveal the adjustments he made, but they’ve allowed him to cover the upper part of the zone, making him an almost impossible out. Since May 4, Muncy has eight homers, the third most in the Majors behind Texas’ Adolis García and Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Over his last 20 games, Muncy leads the Majors with a .494 on-base percentage.

Muncy is also playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base and is able to move to second base in order to make room for in the lineup. Muncy came into Thursday’s game with a 2.9 bWAR, which leads all position players.

“It’s the best all-around baseball he’s played in the big leagues,” Roberts said.

With Muncy leading the way, the Dodgers continued their recent dominance, winning 13 of their last 15 games. They’ve also won all four games against the Giants this season.

“Just a good team win,” Roberts said.