Max Muncy was playing like an MVP candidate early this season. Following his five-home-run week that led to him winning the National League Player of the Week Award, it seemed like Muncy was fully back to being his 2021, All-Star self.
Then, he went on paternity leave for a few days, and came back right around the time Trayce Thompson had come down with an illness. Thompson passed that sickness over to Muncy, and very quickly, Muncy was drained of his superhero powers.
We first heard of Muncy’s illness on May 5 in the series opener against the Padres in San Diego. From May 5 until May 14, Muncy was just 2-for-28 (.071) with zero extra-base hits. That was a far cry from the home run leader we saw just a week before.
Muncy, clearly, was battling this illness, one the team called a ‘cold’ but feels like it was a bit stronger. But, on Monday, Muncy seemed to finally shake the worst of the symptoms, and took all his frustration out on a 95.7 mph 4-seam fastball in the first inning, hitting it 390 feet to right field for his first home run in seemingly forever.
In Muncy’s next at-bat in the third inning, he had a similar result, this time taking his frustration out on an 87.4 mph changeup. Different pitch, same result, this time a 396-foot shot to center field to give the Dodgers the 5-1 lead, and Muncy the MLB home run lead again with 14.
After Monday’s game, Muncy spoke about the illness he’s been dealing with, and just how much it affected his game.
“I’ve definitely been grinding and the guys in here know it,” Muncy said. “I feel like I’m putting together really good at-bats the last two weeks and there’s just no energy there, there’s nothing in the swing. Your body’s fighting an illness and you’re trying to do everything you can to help the team win.”
Fortunately, on Monday, it appeared that he was finally starting to feel like himself again.
“There was a little bit more energy, maybe we’re finally kicking (the illness),” Muncy said. “The cough has definitely been not as abundant. Maybe we’re turning a page, hopefully.”
The Dodgers have won 14 of their last 16 games, and that’s with a struggling Muncy for most of it. If their cleanup hitter is healthy again, and the power is fully back to where it was early in the season, the rest of the league may really be in trouble.
As Dave Roberts said earlier this year, the Dodgers run on Max Muncy.
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