The 29-year-old Muncy was sidelined with a right wrist fracture since August 29, missing a total of 14 games. Without the lefty slugger, the Los Angeles offense has been sporadic, to say the least.
Prior to the injury, Muncy appeared in 129 games for the Dodgers, hitting .253/.375/.575 with 19 doubles, 33 homers and 87 RBI. In two seasons with Los Angeles, he has tallied 68 homers and 168 RBI while slashing .258/.382/.552.
For the 2019 season, the left-handed hitting Muncy has featured a bit of a reverse split at the plate, although most of his power has come against opposing right-handers. Still, his productivity against opposing lefties and righties alike has made him an everyday lineup option for skipper Dave Roberts.
Against right-handed pitching this year, Muncy has slashed .248/.380/.520 with 22 homers. Against lefty pitching he has hit .264/.361/.535 with 11 long balls. His OPS against righties is .901 and is .896 against left-handers.
Over his career—parts of four different big league seasons—Muncy has hit .241/.366/.499 with 54 home runs against righty pitching. When facing opposing southpaws, he has slashed .258/.360/.524 with 19 homers.
Muncy’s return could conceivably have an effect on playing time for several players who may be on the bubble when it comes to receiving a postseason roster spot. Since being activated, rookies Gavin Lux and Matt Beaty have both been seeing regular playing time and may see their appearances decrease with Muncy’s return, at least while the Dodgers are battling the Braves for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
So far this year, Muncy has appeared in 67 games at second base, 55 games at first base and 29 games at third base.
Lux has made nine starts at the keystone, hitting .241 (7-for-29) with two homers, a double and two RBI.
For the entirety of his 2019 campaign, Beaty has slashed .288/.377/.500 with 19 doubles, nine long balls and 46 RBI over 226 AB. In the field, Beaty has proven his versatility by making 33 appearances in left field, 32 at first base, three at third base, two appearances in right field and two as designated hitter.
If there’s one downfall to Beaty’s game, it his weakness against lefty pitching. For the year against southpaws, Beaty has gone just 4-for-32 with a double and three RBI.
Another indirect result of Muncy’s absence was the call-up of Edwin Rios before the opener against the Orioles on Tuesday. The main reason Rios was added, though, was to provide extra cover at third base due to Justin Turner‘s ailing ankle.
Still, without Muncy and outfielder Alex Verdugo‘s bats being available, the move to add another lefty hitter made sense.
Verdugo suffered a setback when was on a rehab assignment with short-season Ogden after landing on the injured list Aug. 6 with an oblique strain. With just 14 games left on the regular season schedule, Verdugo’s chances of being included on the postseason roster are extremely slim.
“I think each day that we don’t get him moving closer to playing, makes it more bleak,” Roberts said on Tuesday about Verdugo. “But we’re still hopeful. So I think the door’s still open but obviously each day that passes gets a little bit tougher.”