If you were to be asked what you thought the biggest at bat of Game 5 was, you’d probably immediately think of the Will Smith three-run homer with two outs to give the Dodgers the lead. You can make the case that it was the most crucial at bat of the game.
However, that wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the prior batter.
After Mookie Betts recorded the second out of the inning, Max Muncy stepped up to the plate with two outs and a runner on second. He quickly jumped ahead in the count 3-0, but saw back-to-back strikes to make the count full. He laid off the next pitch that just missed the zone, taking first base with the walk.
“Muncy getting the walk to get Smith up to the plate, that was a great at bat,” Betts said following the game. “Passing the baton. Not trying to do too much, took the walk and passed it to Smith.”
He passed it to Smith, who hit the game-winning home run on the sixth pitch of the next at bat.
“Muncy’s walk was huge,” Smith said. “I was expecting him to drive the guys in. But that was a great at bat. Taking 3-2. Passing the baton to me. I was able to capitalize on it. Letting the next guy drive you in.”
Had Muncy struck out or gotten out, the inning would have been over and the Braves would’ve entered the bottom of the sixth inning hanging onto the lead. Who knows what happens next.
It’s likely that plate appearance that will be long forgotten in this postseason, and potentially Dodgers history depending on the outcome of the playoffs. However, last night’s victory wouldn’t have been possible had Muncy not drawn a basic walk.