On Sunday in Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ seven-game winning streak was broken in a manner equally as stunning as the way it began.
The first salvo that turned the tide was Gavin Lux’s walk-off double to complete a come-from-behind ninth inning and salvage the fourth game of a four-game home set against these same Phillies. From there, the Dodgers reeled off six more victories: four in a condensed series against Arizona, followed by a pair on the road in Philadelphia.
One out away from capturing an eighth straight win in extra innings, Alec Bohm tapped one up the middle to Max Muncy, who enthusiastically took over second base when the Dodgers finalized a deal with Freddie Freeman.
Muncy, who rose from the ranks of the anonymous to become perhaps the Dodgers’ most potent power/patience threat and 2021’s MVP, still has yet to shake off his offseason elbow rehab, which did not include UCL surgery, something he swears was never recommended by any doctor.
At the plate, Muncy has posted a powerless 76 OPS+ and looked uncomfortable, an attitude that has likely carried over in the field.
In case his absence in 2021’s playoff run didn’t cement the importance of a healthy Muncy to the way this team operates at its peak, perhaps his 2022 stint has sealed that deal. Capped off by the error that lost Sunday’s contest and allowed two runs to score, the Dodgers’ stalwart has sadly stalled this team’s progress more often than he’s advanced it this season.
Dodgers fall to Phillies on Max Muncy error
The silver lining? Muncy’s Dodgers continue to win in spite of him, rattling off red-hot stretches en route to a 27-13 record.
The weight of failing to contribute only creates more and more duress as the season develops, though. Muncy went from the most valuable cog on the league’s best team to someone whose presence they must overcome to win ballgames, a terrible place to be.
On Sunday evening, Muncy stepped up in front of the gathered media — one of the most difficult places to be in the world — to attempt to project confidence, with all eyes on him. His interview attempt was the latest in a long line of clear screams below the surface that he is not, in fact, alright.
All Dodgers fans can do, at this point, is to stand with the man who’s given them so much and encourage him until he’s built back up (physically and mentally) to where he needs to be.
Unfortunately, this road trip continues endlessly, with stops in Washington and Arizona still on the way. When Muncy and the Dodgers return home against the Pirates as the month wraps, he deserves a blanket of security from the crowd, even if his production still has yet to turn around.