The Dodgers continued their pummeling of the Pirates on Tuesday, July third with a win, some great offensive performances, and a Kershaw masterpiece. They won that game 8-3 and the news from that day was abundant.
The storybook season continued on Tuesday, July third for Max Muncy when he hit not one, but two home runs, his 19th, and 20th of the season. The 28-year old first, second, and third baseman has been electric for the Dodgers in 2018, providing unparalleled offense and a flexible “team-first” attitude when it comes to his defensive positioning. After Tuesday’s incredible performance, Muncy’s 20 home runs rank third in the NL, sitting behind Bryce Harper (21) and Nolan Arenado (22). His 1.069 OPS puts him well into first place in the NL and third overall in the majors, trailing just Mookie Betts and Mike Trout. Muncy has also put together an incredible, and frequent, display of power as he is hitting a home run once every 9.15 at-bats, a mark that better than the career home run rates of the top three home run hitters of all time, Hank Aaron (16.4), Barry Bonds (12.9), and Babe Ruth (11.8). While those numbers may say very little, Hank Aaron’s best single-season home run rate was every 11.625 at-bats. The show seems to continue every night for Muncy who has proven that he means business and it is no fluke.
- The Dodger offense had a hot month of June, compiling the best record in the majors and break the franchise record from home runs in a single month- 54. The power surge has proven to be no fluke as the team has hit 11 home runs in their first three games of July. Should they continue on this track, the Dodgers are on pace for a monstrous month in the power department. The current rate of 11 home runs every three games would get them to 95.3 homers in July. That number is astronomically high and unsustainable but should the team come even close to that figure they have done something very right, and the standings should reflect that.
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- Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported on Tuesday morning that the Dodgers have had some dialogue with both the Tigers and the Orioles about Michael Fulmer and Manny Machado respectively. While there has been no evidence of any truth to these rumors, the prospect of such trades is very compelling and worth following closely. Machado would be a difference maker. His ability to hit for both average and power is undeniable and while his defense is nowhere near the level it was when he played third base in years past, his defense at shortstop will get the job done for the Dodgers. The question that remains in any scenario is the return. Nightengale reported that the O’s have done and will continue to do extensive research on the Dodgers farm system but will want pitching prospect, Dustin May, included in any deal. This story will be well tracked in the Quick Hits Series.
- Kershaw made what was easily his cleanest start since coming off the DL and was rewarded with a win for his efforts. The 30-year old ace pitched six innings on Tuesday and did so on just 74 pitches. Over the course of his start, Kershaw allowed two runs on four hits and walked none, while striking out a total of two batters. The results of this game against the Pirates were promising as viewers of the game were able to see a purely healthy Kershaw take the hill and work his magic. If he can stay this healthy, the Dodgers have their ace back.