Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
The Dodgers received good news on Clayton Kershaw and Max Muncy. Although Muncy probably will not participate during the playoffs, he does not need surgery. Kershaw has no ligament damage; therefore, he does not need Tommy John surgery, he won’t participate in the playoffs.
The Dodgers will miss Muncy whose thirty-six home runs leads the Dodgers. While the Dodgers will miss Muncy’s offensive production, baseball-knowledgeable people underestimate how important his defense at first base is to the Dodgers. He digs out many throws of the dirt. Except Corey Seager, none of the Dodger infielders have accurate throwing arms. Muncy has good range for a first baseman, which has prevented many runs from scoring.
On Sunday, Muncy dislocated his elbow, but he had his elbow went back into the joint. He does not need surgery, but the rehabilitation process maybe will take longer than four weeks.
Since Muncy’s injury, most Dodger fans have been asking, “Who’s going to play first base?”
The Dodgers have many options, but none of them are as good as Muncy at first. Cody Bellinger is the most logical choice at first base even though he has had the most awful offensive performance. However, moving Bellinger out of center field weakens the defense, and Max Scherzer is a flyball pitcher. Whereas Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux can play center field, Bellinger is much better defensively.
For the last month, while battling a stiff neck, Taylor hit .120. Lux may become a terrific outfielder, but now, he makes practically every flyball an adventure.
Albert Pujols has vast experience playing first during his Hall-of-Fame career. However, his advanced age has limited his range and reach. Against right-handed pitching, Pujols has not done well during the 2021 regular season, and Adam Wainwright, the Saint Louis Cardinals’ starter, is a righthander. The Dodgers need Pujols off the bench to make a difference late in the game.
Matt Beaty is the fan choice to play first base. He can hit well, going 3-for-3 to end the season. He has experience playing first, but his defense is not great. He is a proven left-handed pinch hitter, something that the Dodgers must have in the National League Wild Card game. I love Beaty and would start him against the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS.
If I were the Dodger manager, I would start Bellinger at first and play Taylor in center.
Later, I will write about Dodger legend Clayton Kershaw.