There was a lot of good in this series. We witnessed great starting pitching from Trevor Bauer, Julio Urias and Walker Buehler, all of whom recorded a win. There were some great hitting performances as well, most notably from Corey Seager, who reached base in 12 of his 16 plate appearances.
It was not great for every Dodgers player, though. Clayton Kershaw got roughed up on Opening Day behind worm-burner grounders and mistakes in the field, and Cody Bellinger got his first home run of the season taken away thanks to a joint gaffe with Justin Turner. David Price didn’t look too great in his official Dodgers debut, either.
It is hard to nitpick the Los Angeles Dodgers, but we would still make these changes.
3. Bat Max Muncy clean-up over Cody Bellinger
Cody Bellinger played the first three games of the season before getting the day off on Sunday. In those three games he batted clean-up opposed to sixth, which is where he batted for most of the 2020 playoffs.
Max Muncy spent most of the time hitting clean-up in the 2020 playoffs and the Dodgers should go back to that. Bellinger, while not getting help with his home run nullification, was not great in the opening series while Muncy saw the ball well.
This is more than just a four-game overreaction, though. Bellinger was cold last season and continues to tweak his swing. Fans should not want someone who keeps tweaking his swing to be hitting in such an important part of the lineup.
Muncy is a better run producer as it currently stands. He’s more likely to work deeper counts and had better numbers last season with runners in scoring position. Muncy had an OPS that was 65 points higher and he drove in 16 runs in 63 chances whereas Bellinger drove in 14 in 60 chances.
It’s a subtle change and it’s a first-world baseball problem to have, but Bellinger stranding 12 runners in three games is a good reason to move him down. The bottom half of the lineup would then be Muncy-Smith-Bellinger-Taylor-Lux. Still potent.