Dodgers infielder Max Muncy missed the 2021 postseason after suffering a gruesome elbow injury in the final weekend of the regular season. Watching his teammates play in October while laid up with the injury wasn’t fun for Muncy, as Jack Harris reports in the Los Angeles Times.
“It sucked,” he said. “After each game I went home and talked to my wife. A big kick in the gut every single night, not being able to help the team. Just very frustrating.”
The 2022 season didn’t start the way Muncy and the Dodgers had hoped, with lingering effects of the elbow injury making Muncy doubt, at times, whether he would ever be the same ballplayer he had been.
“When you have that kind of injury, it’s always gonna be a question.”
A mechanical change helped the slugging lefty break out in August, reminding him that he can still play at a high level and giving him confidence that slumps like the one he went through to finish the regular season are a part of baseball, rather than an existential crisis.
Playing in his first postseason game in nearly two years, Muncy recorded a hit and a walk while driving in one run and scoring a run in Tuesday night’s 5-3 win over the Padres. After the game, he admitted to having some butterflies heading into game one. That all went away with that first inning RBI single.
For Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts, it backed up his stance on having a healthy and effective Muncy in the middle of his lineup.
“He’s kind of right there in the middle of things,” manager Dave Roberts said. “If he’s slugging or getting on base or getting hits, that just makes the bottom part of the order and the top part of the order that much better.”
For Muncy’s part, his late-season performance, combined with simply being back in the playoffs, has him confident and excited heading into the NLDS.
“It was really huge for me,” he said of his late-season performance. “Just finding that success, finding the results, understanding that I can still be that guy.”
And when asked whether his painful experience a year ago has added to his anticipation for this year’s run at the World Series, his bearded face curled into a grin.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to this. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
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