Max Muncy’s stellar May helped the Dodgers stay afloat in the division amid injuries to the lineup, and was arguably the best month of his career. We recount his month this week on the podcast, recorded one day before Muncy suffered a mild right ankle sprain.
Muncy in May hit .330/.440/.714 with 10 home runs, 19 RBI, and 23 runs scored. He led the National League in slugging percentage, OPS, wRC+ (212), home runs, runs scored, and FanGraphs WAR (1.9).
On May 30, Muncy hit his 10th home run of May, tying his career-best for any month (also done in June 2018). It was his 100th career home run. Not bad for a 30-year-old who on his 27th birthday only had five home runs.
“It’s a pretty cool number. That’s a lot of home runs in the big leagues, and something I never thought I’d get to, especially with how my career started,” Muncy said. “For me, it means a lot.”
In May, Muncy set personal highs for any month in hits (30), total bases (65), slugging percentage, and batting average, and tied his bests in runs scored and home runs. His on-base percentage and OPS were second-bests for him, trailing only his June 2018 barrage that saw him hit 10 home runs and walk 28 times.
Also this week on the podcast, we look at the returns of Cody Bellinger and Zach McKinstry, plus AJ Pollock and Jimmy Nelson coming back, and a rotation that will likely include five starting pitchers instead of four by next week.
Plus we have trivia on 2,000-strikeout pitchers who were once Dodgers, and other workhorse relievers in franchise history.
We look back at pitcher Mike Marshall, the first relief pitcher in major league history to win a Cy Young Award, who died on Tuesday at age 78.
Marshall pitched 208 innings in 106 games in 1974, his first year with the Dodgers, both MLB records for relievers that stand to this day. He pitched 13 games in a row that year, which is also a record.
This quote from Dodgers shortstop Bill Russell, in Ron Fimrite’s 1979 Sports Illustrated profile of the reliever, captured the essence of Marshall in totality:
“He’s a very interesting person. He was a tough guy to play behind,” says Bill Russell, who, as the shortstop then and now, was most affected by Marshall’s criticism of the Dodger defense. “He never made a bad pitch, according to him. And according to him, we were always out of position. He had a variety of pitches and he’d throw them in situations another pitcher wouldn’t. We couldn’t figure him out. Mike was just a different person. He wouldn’t allow smokers on the same bus with him, and he always wanted a water bed in hotels. We were pretty loosey-goosey. We did a lot of joking. He took it as if we meant it all. We were just doing it to stay loose. We’d say things we thought were funny and he wouldn’t laugh. He’d say things he thought were funny and we wouldn’t laugh. But overall, he’s a super guy, a great competitor. Without him, we wouldn’t have been in the World Series that year.”
Episode link (time: 1:10:45)