Max Muncy. Yours truly was rather understanding in last night’s recap, acknowledging all the right reasons why Dave Roberts sat Muncy on Tuesday. Nevertheless, let us throw reason out the window, as Muncy’s second two-homer night in this series, on Wednesday, to lead a 10-5 win, showed that there is no reason when it comes to what Muncy does against San Francisco.
The night began much like the previous one, with the Dodgers starter, this time around, Clayton Kershaw, continuing the struggles he’s had in the back half of his career against the platoon-loaded Giants, as the left-hander entered the game with an ERA over 4 in his last nine games against San Francisco.
Although Tuesday night it was lack of control that plagued Dustin May, in the first inning Wednesday it was well-placed batted balls that did Kershaw in. The first two batters reached on what should have been a couple of easy flyball outs, but that just found the right spot to drop.
The likes of J.D. Davis, Wilmer Flores, and newly added Darin Ruf, have all had pretty good success against the Dodgers starter, and in the first inning, San Francisco jumped out to a two-run lead on the back of a sac-fly by Davis, and RBI double from Ruf.
The Giants added another run in the second, but the Dodgers’ attack was quick to counter, with a two-run spot in the fifth, bringing down the lead to 3-2. The bottom of the lineup was crucial in building up that rally, as James Outman, David Peralta, and Miguel Rojas all reached base safely.
The rally could have been bigger, but Bryce Johnson made this terrific play to take away a two-run double from Freddie Freeman with two outs, keeping the Giants in the lead, at least for the time being.
BRYCE JOHNSON, OH MY, WHAT A CATCH— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 13, 2023
Note: Johnson left the game following that play to be evaluated for a possible concussion.
As Kershaw settled in, then came the Muncy show
It’s in nights like these that we learn to appreciate the greatness of Kershaw. as the Dodgers starter absolutely labored through the first couple of innings, seeing his pitch count rise, but then he settled in, and the Giants' offense wouldn’t get a single hit off him after that second inning.
Despite having over 60 pitches in the first three frames, Kershaw still managed to complete six frames, for the third time in as many starts for the three-time Cy Young winner this season.
Kershaw held the Giants' offense at three, but the Dodgers still trailed by one in the middle innings, and then it was time for Muncy to take over.
First off, in the fifth inning, the Dodgers third-baseman took old friend Scott Alexander deep, out to left-center, to tie it up at five. At the time, it was his third bomb of the series.
TIE IT UP, MAX! pic.twitter.com/R3apqB1p0D— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 13, 2023
In the following inning, the train came off the rails for the home team, as Gabe Kepler gave the ball to one of his prized off-season pickups in Taylor Rogers, and the left-hander proceeded to walk the four batters he faced, capped off by a 15 pitch AB to Freeman, and just for good measure, one of those walks, came on a pitch-clock violation, with a 3-2 count and Chris Taylor at the plate.
In came John Brebbia to clean up the mess, with the Giants down 4-3, following Freeman’s bases-loaded walk, and he did all but that, as Will Smith hit a sac fly to take the lead to 5-3, and then MUNCY HAPPENED.
MAX. MUNCY. AGAIN. pic.twitter.com/Tf4yf135Cp— MLB (@MLB) April 13, 2023
On two starts in this series, Muncy hit four home runs, including two against southpaws, and upped his RBI total against the Giants in his career to 55 in 75 games.
After that point, the game was basically out of reach for San Francisco, and if not, Trayce Thompson made sure of it, with a two-run shot of his own in the following frame.
Rojas, Conforto, and Johnson all left with potential injuries
Michael Conforto was substituted in the middle of the game, with what was reported as right calf tightness, and as we noted above, Johnson left to be examined for a potential concussion.
On the Dodgers side of things, while running down an infield hit, Miguel Rojas felt a cramp in his left hamstring and ultimately left the game, giving way to Chris Taylor at shortstop.
Evan Phillips bounces back with a strong outing
It was the eighth inning, and the Dodgers held a six-run lead, but in spite of that, with a bullpen that hasn’t been as sharp as most expected, it was rather encouraging to see Evan Phillips come in and strike out the side in the inning, proving that last night might have been just an off outing from him.
This ‘pen will need him more than ever with Yency Almonte, Brusdar Graterol, and Alex Vesia all struggling in the early goings of 2023.
Home runs: Max Muncy 2 (5), Trayce Thompson (4); Thairo Estrada (2)
WP — Clayton Kershaw (2-1): 6 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP — Taylor Rogers (0-1): 0 IP, 4 runs, 4 walks
The Dodgers are off Thursday before opening up a three-game series against the Cubs on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. Noah Syndergaard starts the opener, facing Chicago left-hander Justin Steele.