And even though Muncy himself hasn’t found his typical groove (or really anyone’s typical groove), he still clearly views himself as a weapon just waiting to be unleashed, based on the way he spoke to reporters after coming up empty on Wednesday afternoon.
The stars were aligned in the series finale at PNC Park for the Dodgers to snag a weirdly difficult road series and get out of the ‘Burgh. Rookie Ryan Pepiot had walked the farm, but allowed only a single hit and escaped three innings with his swing-and-miss stuff. A three-run double off the bat of Edwin Rios equalized things in the seventh just after a parade of anonymous Pirates went deep off the ‘pen.
And yet, following a Will Smith lineout after the Dodgers had reloaded the bases, it all came down to Muncy and his .138 average with two outs in a tight one.
The slugger did not deliver, uncharacteristically striking out looking to continue his downward spiral; the Pirates untied the game for good the very next half inning.
Was Muncy down in the dumps after the game after blinking through strike three, though? Did he let his season-to-date weigh on him in a depressing postgame? Hardly. He just didn’t think reliever Wil Crowe would have the cojones to do what he did.
Dodgers’ Max Muncy still feels tough despite early struggles
It’s getting late early out here, but Muncy clearly still feels he has the upper hand in these mano-a-mano duels, despite his turgid numbers. That’s certainly something. Once the negative attitude follows poor performance, then we have a real problem.
Clearly, though, Muncy underestimated Crowe, a 27-year-old Tennesseean with a solid 1.05 WHIP and 2.25 ERA through 20 innings pitched.
Who knows? Perhaps Crowe showed enough to leap the list of Dodgers deadline targets, considering the Pirates should eventually be open for business. He likely wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to provoke a knowing nod this week, as it seems LA as a whole might’ve underestimated the fight in this particular dog.