Consider Dave Roberts among those trying to find the guy who did this, despite holding the Dodgers lineup-creating pen in his hand.
"This," of course, being "installing Max Muncy permanently in the three-hole despite his cascading struggles." No word yet on whether Roberts is wearing a hot dog suit or parading around a crashed WienerMobile as he attempts to get to the bottom of his own mess.
Entering play on Wednesday against the Baltimore Orioles, the Dodgers were rolling towards the trade deadline, but Muncy was not. He opened the day 1-20 since the All-Star break, and had only gained notoriety by hitting the sky-high ball that fooled Mets third baseman Brett Baty and resulted in a busted nose and bruised ego.
That's not good enough. Muncy's .189 average was the worst in baseball, among 148 qualified hitters on Tuesday evening. His power and patience are his calling cards, but he seemed to be in need of a reset. Roberts, who knows him well, disagreed.
On Wednesday, riding the high of two high-flying wins in Baltimore already, he defied critics and continued to bat Muncy third. He didn't sugarcoat his assessment of the slugger, though, outright stating his contact had been unimpressive and placing the burden on the player to "figure it out" himself.
Dodgers keeping themselves in Max Muncy mess as his numbers get worse
Did Roberts' show of faith (and not-so-subtle verbal backhand) turn Muncy's season around?
There's plenty more data in the "he's off" bucket than in the "he's fixed" one, but just a few innings later, the Dodgers' third baseman took advantage of an overturned call and helped LA creep closer with a patented blast into the Camden Yards bleachers.
The Dodgers have humbled the Orioles in this series the same way Roberts humbled Muncy, refusing to say die in a hostile road ballpark, even when faced with repeated multi-run deficits.
Reinforcements are coming for Los Angeles at this year's trade deadline, but according to conventional wisdom and Arte Moreno's malfeasance, none of those reinforcements will be threatening Muncy's/JD Martinez's time in the DH spot.
Wednesday will either be remembered as a positive step and line in the sand drawn by Roberts, or another bout of false hope while Muncy remains on the interstate. Winning over everything, though, right? It's tough to be dissatisfied with this series either way, even if Wednesday's pregame showing doesn't light a personal spark in Muncy.
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