Max Muncy provides Dodgers closure for Craig Kimbrel trade with walk-off grand slam
It didn't start off as a good day for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but it somehow ended with the organization getting closure on the ill-fated Craig Kimbrel trade last offseason that sent AJ Pollock to the Chicago White Sox, leaving LA's depth thin and bullpen even worse.
Top prospect Gavin Stone made his MLB debut on Wednesday in the series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies and surrendered five runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks across just four innings of work. But the Dodgers chipped away and backed their guy up.
Come the top of the ninth, LA was leading 6-5 and sent in their best reliever in Brusdar Graterol to finish the job. But he couldn't do it. He allowed an earned run on two hits and a walk, so it was up to the bats to shut the door in the bottom of the ninth.
And that's when they once again came face-to-face with old friend Craig Kimbrel, but this time it was in a high-leverage situation for all the marbles.
Almost immediately, the right-hander loaded the bases for the Dodgers' best hitter at the moment, Max Muncy, who swung at Kimbrel's first offering and ended the game on a walk-off grand slam. 10-6. Phillies swept. No more ill-will towards Kimbrel for his stress-inducing performance in 2022. What. A. Day.
Max Muncy belts walk-off grand slam against Craig Kimbrel to sweep Phillies
Dodgers fans, up until that moment, were still harboring resentment for Kimbrel and the front office for what they were put through last year. Now? All is forgiven. It has to be. You're not going to get a more cathartic moment than that.
That was Muncy's league-leading 12th home run of the season and brought him up to 27 RBI. He didn't come close to hitting those numbers until late July/early August of last season. What a turnaround for the lefty slugger.
As for Kimbrel? Right where he left off. Actually, worse! He now has an 8.25 ERA on the season after allowing those four earned runs in just 0.1 innings of work.
He gave up a leadoff single to Chris Taylor and allowed him to steal second base, which then forced an intentional walk of Freddie Freeman. Will Smith then walked, setting the table for Muncy, who propelled the Dodgers to their sixth straight win as they prepare for the weekend series against the San Diego Padres.
With the day off Thursday, perhaps Andrew Friedman should pick up Muncy's Wednesday night tab for absolving him of blame for the trade so many fans took issue with during what ended up being an incredibly underwhelming 2022 for LA.