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Dodgers Dugout: Is Max Muncy back?

Max Muncy
Max Muncy
(Ed Zurga / Getty Images)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and can you believe the Dodgers lost Sunday? They are only 11-1 in August and 32-6 since July 1. Just terrible.

Let’s take a minute to discuss Max Muncy. In the July 28 edition of this newsletter, I called for Muncy to hit the bench for a while. Since then, he has hit .347/.431/.755 with five doubles, five homers and 12 RBIs.

It might be too soon to say for sure that the turnaround is real, but you have to give Muncy credit for hanging in there and not just giving up. He has gone through some brutal stretches and if the old Muncy is back, the Dodgers become much more difficult to defeat in the playoffs.

Of course, it was a brilliant motivational ploy on my part to get him to turn it around. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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Fernando Tatis Jr.

The big Dodgers news last week didn’t involve the Dodgers.

When the San Diego Padres acquired Juan Soto, Padres fans were salivating over the thought of Soto and Manny Machado in the same lineup, soon to be joined by a returning Fernando Tatis Jr., out all season after breaking his wrist in a motorcycle accident. Well, not so fast.

Tatis was suspended for 80 games by MLB last week for testing positive for a performance enhancing drug, specifically Clostebol. Tatis says it was in a ringworm medication he was using, but that he didn’t check the ingredients and accepts full responsibility.

“There is nowhere else in the world I would rather be than on the field competing with my teammates,” Tatis said. “After initially appealing the suspension, I have realized that my mistake was the cause of this result and for that reason I have decided to start serving my suspension immediately. I look forward to rejoining my teammates on the field in 2023.”

Clostebol is a testosterone-boosting anabolic steroid that is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and has been on MLB’s banned list since it began testing for steroids in 2003.

What this does is make a tweet from Marty Caswell, who works for San Diego sports radio station XTRA 1390, much more interesting. In May, Caswell tweeted:

This puts a serious crimp in the Padres’ playoff hopes, though it’s not insurmountable. The Dodgers are the favorites to win the NL pennant, but don’t sleep on the New York Mets. Not only is Max Scherzer pitching great, they just got Jacob DeGrom back, and in three starts he has given up six hits and one walk in 16.2 innings, striking out 28.

What Vin Scully meant to you

Scott Barker, San Diego: My dad was at the first Dodger game at the Coliseum and had a special love for the team and Vin Scully that lasted his whole life, and which he passed on to me. I spent 50 beautiful and memorable summers with Vin, his stories, his love of baseball, and his silence when the fans were roaring. I loved how he called a game, lobbing in a casual “That’s a strike” before coming back to the story he was telling.

In his later years, Vin was a living legend who connected me to the old Dodger teams and players, my father, and to my years growing up in Southern California. I wish I could describe what he meant to me in the poetry that came so effortlessly to him. I will say that I loved him and he is a part of me, even though I never met the man. I hope and pray that his statue will be placed next to Jackie and Sandy sooner rather than later, no one is more richly deserving than Vin Scully.

Christine Alvarez: My grandmother, Glenrose B. Hand, was born in Los Angeles in 1926. She attended USC, where she married and met my grandfather, Frank Hand. She said my grandfather was obsessed with sports and would drag her all over the L.A. area for any sporting event imaginable. But she said the most enjoyable was learning about baseball and listening to Vinny on the car radio when they drove around town. She was a big Dodger fan and she passed that love on to me when I was very young. Vinny was the Dodgers for me and his retirement was hard. I was that spoiled generation that heard him announce virtually every game, even when I was at the game.

I can remember Sunday mornings laying on my Grams floor while she was reading the newspaper and we’d have the TV on watching the Dodgers. Best thing to wake up to.

When she was in hospice on one of her last days, Vinny was calling a Dodger game and I put the speaker next to her ear so she could listen to Vinny. I knew that would give her some joy in her final moments.

RIP Vinny. Thank you for bringing the love of baseball to my family and millions of others.

Gabriel Aguirre: Vinny was the welcomed guest in our home for generations. He connected me with my grandmother, my father, and my brothers. The voice in the background of too many memories to recollect. The only time I met the man was when I was 11 or so, and I was with my younger brother and cousin. My mom was pulled into a stall behind the old ’76 station in the parking lot. As we waited to go inside I notice a slender silhouette pumping gas into an older model Mercedes sportscar, convertible no less. I couldn’t comprehend that the voice was pumping his own gas, much less do anything but call Dodger baseball. It was Vin. I yelped to my mom to get me a paper and pen. She handed me a yellow memo pad with one sheet attached and a pencil. We ran across the lot with reckless abandon to the voice we considered family. We ran up to Mr. Scully and asked for an autograph. He obliged and asked what we wanted signed. I had only a sheet of memo pad for his signature, but three of us wanted his autograph. He quickly realized the predicament and took the sheet and said, here’s what I’ll do, he proceeded to sign his name three times and with a gentle smile and assurance, told us to cut it out for each of us to have. I still have that portion of yellow sheet today.

Beth Olhasso: I’m sure this is what everybody is saying, but I’ll add to the chorus. Chorus, interesting term seeing as Vin was a voice so subtle, but powerful, he didn’t need backup. His voice was the sound of my youth. A true master of his craft. Something I didn’t understand as a born and raised L.A. girl. Not till I went back east for school did I realize there weren’t Vins everywhere. Only then did I understand the gift of growing up a Dodger fan listening to Vin call games. How he would call a game at the same time as telling a story so seamlessly — keeping us enraptured in the count as well as whatever anecdote he was telling. I hope I will always be able to hear his voice wishing me “a very pleasant good evening” or telling me that “it’s time for Dodger baseball.” So, I have no special story to tell, just the steady call of Vin, the voice of the Dodgers, game after game that I can appreciate and be thankful for.

The last two weeks

Let’s see how everyone has been doing the last two weeks, through Sunday:

Max Muncy, .400/.475/.943, 4 doubles, 5 homers, 12 RBIs
Will Smith, .400/.444/.650, 4 doubles, 2 homers, 11 RBIs
Mookie Betts: .353/.382/.647, 6 doubles, 3 homers, 8 RBIs
James Outman, .333/.500/.444, 1 double
Trayce Thompson, .294/.455/.647, 3 doubles, 1 homer, 3 RBIs
Trea Turner, .286/.289/.469, 3 doubles, 2 homers, 10 RBIs
Freddie Freeman, .273/.365/.318, 2 doubles, 6 RBIs
Austin Barnes, .273/.333/.364, 1 double, 1 RBI
Gavin Lux, .270/.357/.460, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 5 RBIs
Joey Gallo, .263/.364/.632, 1 double, 2 homers, 4 RBIs
Justin Turner, .250/.235/.375, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs
Miguel Vargas, .250/.250/.375, 8 at-bats, 1 double, 2 RBIs
Jake Lamb, .250/.333/.375, 1 for 4, 1 double
Cody Bellinger, .222/.231/.611, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 11 RBIs
Hanser Alberto, .200/.200/.267, 1 double, 2 RBIs
Chris Taylor, .167/.231/.333, 1 double, 1 homer, 3 RBIs
Tyler Anderson, 0 for 1
Tony Wolters, 0 for 4

Team: .291/.346/.526, 35 doubles, 2 triples, 20 homers, 7 runs per game.

Starting pitchers

Julio Urías, 0.69 ERA, 13 IP, 12 hits, 0 walks, 14 K’s
Tony Gonsolin, 0.77 ERA, 11.2 IP, 5 hits, 4 walks, 9 K’s
Clayton Kershaw, 2.25 ERA, 4 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 4 K’s
Andrew Heaney, 2.31 ERA, 11.2 IP, 11 hits, 3 walks, 15 K’s
Tyler Anderson, 4.00 ERA, 18 IP, 15 hits, 6 walks, 10 K’s
Ryan Pepiot, 8.31 ERA, 4.1 IP, 5 hits, 3 walks, 4 K’s

Relievers

David Price, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 0 hits, 1 walk, 5 K’s
Evan Phillips, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 2 hits, 1 walks, 7 K’s
Alex Vesia, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 2 hits, 1 walks, 6 K’s
Caleb Ferguson, 0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 1 hit, 0 walks, 5 K’s
Yency Almonte, 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 K’s
Hanser Alberto, 0.00 ERA, 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 K’s
Chris Martin, 2.84 ERA, 6.1 IP, 4 hits, 0 walks, 5 K’s
Reyes Moronta, 3.86 ERA, 4.2 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 6 K’s
Phil Bickford, 4.26 ERA, 6.1 IP, 5 hits, 2 walks, 4 K’s
Craig Kimbrel, 5.40 ERA, 5 IP, 5 hits, 2 walks, 3 K’s, 2 saves

Team: 11-1, 2.36 ERA, 107 IP, 74 hits, 26 walks, 97 K’s

These names seem familiar

A look at how players who were with the Dodgers last season are doing this season for other teams (through Saturday). Click on the player’s name for more detailed statistics:

Matt Beaty, Padres, .108/.175/.189, 7 OPS+, on IL with a shoulder injury

Josiah Gray, Nationals, 7-8, 4.81 ERA, 112.1 IP, 100 hits, 46 walks, 127 K’s

Kenley Jansen, Braves, 5-0, 3.32 ERA, 43.1 IP, 30 hits, 15 walks, 58 K’s, 26 saves

Joe Kelly, White Sox, 1-2, 5.84 ERA, 24.2 IP, 24 hits, 16 walks, 33 K’s, 1 save

Corey Knebel, Phillies, 3-5, 3.45 ERA, 44.1 IP, 33 hits, 26 walks, 40 K’s, 12 saves

Sheldon Neuse, A’s, .227/.286/.300, 73 OPS+, back in minors

AJ Pollock, White Sox, .240/.289/.363, 84 OPS+

Albert Pujols, Cardinals, .243/.322/.425, 115 OPS+

Luke Raley, Rays, .190/.304/.276, 73 OPS+

Zach Reks, Rangers, .265/.265/.294, 61 OPS+, back in minors

Keibert Ruiz, Nationals, .245/.304/.355, 90 OPS+

Dennis Santana, Rangers, 3-6, 5.09 ERA, 40.2 IP, 34 hits, 18 walks, 33 K’s, 1 save, on the IL

Max Scherzer, Mets, 8-2, 1.93 ERA, 102.2 IP, 78 hits, 17 walks, 126 K’s

Corey Seager, Rangers, .252/.331/.475, 129 OPS+

Yoshi Tsutsugo, Pirates, .171/.249/.229, 36 OPS+, designated for assignment

Edwin Uceta, Diamondbacks, 0-0, 4.61 ERA, 13.2 IP, 10 hits, 6 walks, 8 K’s

Andrew Vasquez, Phillies, 0-0, 8.10 ERA, 6.2 IP, 6 hits, 3 walks, 6 Ks, in minors

Up next

Tonight: Dodgers (*Julio Urías, 12-6, 2.49 ERA) at Milwaukee (Freddy Peralta, 4-2, 4.37 ERA), 5 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Tuesday: Dodgers (Ryan Pepiot, 1-0, 3.92 ERA) at Milwaukee (Brandon Woodruff, 9-3, 3.52 ERA), 5 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Wednesday: Dodgers (Tony Gonsolin, 14-1, 2.24 ERA) at Milwaukee (*Eric Lauer, 8-4, 3.64 ERA), 5 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Thursday: Dodgers (*Andrew Heaney, 1-0, 1.16 ERA) at Milwaukee (Corbin Burnes, 8-5, 2.39 ERA), 11 a.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

*-left-handed

Stories you might have missed

Dodgers make it a day to remember with Negro Leagues museum visit and 12th consecutive win

Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. suspended 80 games for violating MLB drug policy

Trevor Bauer sexual assault accuser files countersuit to his defamation claim

Elliott: Joey Gallo finds a change in scenery is good for both him and Dodgers

Elliott: Legendary Kings voice Bob Miller reflects on lessons learned from Vin Scully

And finally

Vin Scully tells how The Beatles escaped Dodger Stadium thanks to the Hells Angels. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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