Stripling And Muncy Powered the Dodgers to Victory

Friday, July 24, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020

Friday, the Los Angeles Dodgers walloped the San Francisco Giants 9-to-1.

Entering the 2020 season, Ross Stripling was determined to make the Dodger starting rotation in 2020. Although he didn’t complain about it, he didn’t feel like the Dodgers gave him a chance of making the starting rotation in 2019. When his team acquired both left-handed Alex Wood and David Price, Stripling did not have much opportunity to make the rotation.

Stripling knew he must come up with something new to retire batters. This past off-season he developed a new changeup grip. Now, his changeup looked like a split-fingered fastball or a forkball. The inexperienced Giants could not handle Stripling’s changeup and curveball in his seven innings. Stripling continually established his fastball as a strike, and then, he could pitch. He used all of the quadrants of the strike zone.

Max Muncy can be overlooked in the strong Dodger lineup with superstars of Mookie Betts, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger, but the Dodgers must have Muncy perform offensively to go to the postseason. Three years ago, the Texan native was pondering retirement from baseball and returning to college after being released from the Oakland Athletics. However, the Dodger organization saw something in Muncy that they liked.

From 2018, Muncy has given the Dodgers professional at-bat every time he came to at-bat. Before spring training, the Dodgers awarded Muncy with a two-year contract. While in Arizona, Muncy had a terrific offensive production.

In the first game during summer camp, his teammate Alex Wood hit Muncy’s ring finger. The minor injury kept Muncy out of most intrasquad games until the last weekend of summer camp. Since he didn’t perform in practice, most baseball-knowledgeable people expected Muncy to begin the season in a slump. This is not the case. Friday, though the entire Dodger lineup contributed, Muncy’s two home runs damaged the Giants’ morale.

In the first two games of the abnormal 2020 season, the Giants have had a bad defense. Their pitching staff suffered from poor defense. Their young pitchers do not have the Major-League level of control. The errors and poor defensive play have opened the door for the Dodgers to score. Although the Dodgers have scored seventeen runs in the first games, they have not swung their bats yet the way they can. Unless the Giants quickly improve, it will be a long 60-game season in San Francisco.

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