Max Muncy

USA Today

Dodgers Look Good

Game 1 of the NLDS. Dodgers 6. Braves nothing. 

October 05, 2018 - 10:15 am

Game 1 of the NLDS. Dodgers 6. Braves nothing. Couldn’t have gone any worse for Atlanta. Couldn’t have gone any better for LA. Because that was a straight up wax job with a ripple effect. And it didn’t take long to see how this game was gonna go. Because the very 1st inning was a dead giveaway of two things to come: Hyun-jin Ryu embarrassing fools from the bump. And the Dodgers mashing from the box. And it took Joc Pederson all of three pitches to set the tone for the entire night with a leadoff jack. 

You could have sent everyone home early right then and there because for all the handwringing about Dave Roberts’ decision to start Ryu, the Braves were never going to touch him last night. They weren’t catching up to him; and they sure as hell weren’t’ running L.A. down. Not with Max Muncy doing Max Muncy things.


Max Freaking Muncy if need him. And the Dodgers do. And they’re damn happy to have him. Especially given where this cat came from. No one saw a 27-year-old minor league lifer coming out of nowhere to lead the Dodgers in walks and slugging percentage—only to go on and crush a mammoth three-run dong his very first playoff game. But here’s Muncy acting like he’s been there before when he never has. 

The game was over two innings in. And the Braves knew it. And it’s why they yanked Mike Foltynewicz and put him on ice right away just in case this series comes back to LA. Which it probably won’t... And if the Braves didn’t know the game was over two innings in—Ryu made damn sure they were aware of it from that point on.

7 innings. No runs. No walks. And eight strikeouts. That’s a helluva line on any given day. It’s an even better line on a day that the skipper hands you rock over the face of the franchise and arguably one of the best ever do it.

And that was a massive storyline going into last night. Dave Roberts pulling Clayton Kershaw into his office and telling his horse he’s going with Ryu for Game 1. And even though Kersh reportedly didn’t like it—it was the right move. And it had absolutely nothing to do with Kershaw’s postseason struggles. It wasn’t a confidence thing. And it’s not personal. Its tactics and strategy...  it’s setting up your rotation. It’s having both guys going on the same amount of rest. It’s smart. And it was the right move for Roberts to make. And I said it before the game and I’m saying it right now. And it still would have been the right move even if Ryu got rocked last night. And it’s not just the right move because it worked. It’s the right move because it’s the right move. And let me again say, anyone arguing that the Dodgers have the wrong guy managing that team are talking out their ass. Stop doubting this guy. He knows his staff.  He knows his clubhouse. He knows what the hell he’s doing. Let him do his freaking job.

And the only thing better than Kershaw going in Game 1 on normal rest—is Kershaw going in Game 2 with 1-0 series lead and an extra day of rest. That’s why Doc set it up that way. And it played out perfectly. Never. Doubt. The. Doc.Because he’s been making an ass out of doubters and haters since he showed up on the scene and took over that clubhouse. He’s been through so many ups and downs with his team and manages to keep them together, every single year. That’s not luck. That’s not accident. And neither is the fact that they’ve gone to the postseason every single year and advanced to Game 7 of the World Series under Roberts.

Here’s how damn deep the Dodgers are. On a night where Kershaw doesn’t pitch—and Machado, Grandal, Bellinger, and Puig combine to go oh-fer-14—they still win six-nothing. Look, I'm never gonna call a series after one game. Especially if it was just the home team handling their business. But it's really hard to see this thing coming back to LA after tonight considering how the Dodgers handled their business. 

No, the series isn’t over. But maybe it’s time people shut up about the Dodgers and more importantly about Dave Roberts.