Muncy completes comeback and series win over Cardinals, 5-4

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Dodgers, powered by Tesocar Hernandez and Max Muncy, stun the St. Louis Cardinals late after Gavin Stone's solid season debut.

LOS ANGELES — After the first two games of the home opening series against St.Louis, it looked like the Dodgers were primed for a sweep. Then, a late comeback fell short on Saturday, and things were looking bleak for much of Sunday as well. In the sixth inning, Teoscar Hernandez doubled and James Outman grounded into a fielder’s choice to cut the deficit to 4-2. 

The theatrics were right around the corner when Teoscar Hernandez homered again in the bottom of the eighth to cut it to one, and Max Muncy came up with a chance to have the first big moment of the season. He promptly crushed a hanging slider into the right field seats to put the Dodgers up for the first time in the game at 5-4. Daniel Hudson then came on and shut the door easily to secure a series victory in comeback fashion.

The Dodgers are now 4-2 on the season. 

Here are my three takeaways:

There was a large topic of conversation about who would be the Dodgers’ final starter in a rotation that underwent a major revamp in the offseason. After a great Spring, Gavin Stone showed more than enough development to earn the last spot in the starting pitching staff. In his first start of the season, Stone did exactly what a back end starter should do and kept the Dodgers in the game. 

Nobody is asking for him to be a dominant force that can develop into an ace at this point, so his production is based on simply keeping the Dodgers in games. He did just that, throwing five innings, giving up seven hits, allowing three earned runs and striking out a career high six.  

Plenty of people that I talked to regarding the last two games against St. Louis sounded like they were having flashbacks to last year’s NLDS. While hitting with RISP is still an issue, the Dodgers found yet another way to win a ballgame they looked dead in the water in. Two runs in the sixth and three runs in the eighth was enough to do the job, further proving why this team can be a big threat. 

It wasn’t even the “big three” that made the comeback either, rather the underrated signing of the offseason, Teoscar Hernandez, and the player that hits behind the top of the lineup in Max Muncy. This offense can look like they have no chance at coming back and immediately explode for a plethora of runs. Granted, the Cardinals are not supposed to be a top World Series Contender, but now is the time to build good habits.  

After Gavin Stone’s solid outing, Alex Vesia, Nabil Crismatt, and Daniel Hudson were called upon to hold the Cardinals and get a win. All three combined went four innings and only gave up one unearned run, with an incredible seven strikeouts, including Crismatt’s three strikeout inning in the eighth. 

From the second half of the season in 2023 through this point in the regular season of 2024, the Dodger bullpen has been a weapon that goes very underrated when talking about the structure of this team. When you have your secondary group of arms shut down a lineup to give the offense a chance to comeback, that speaks volumes to the collective mindset of the bullpen. 

The Dodgers are now set to take on their rival San Francisco Giants in a huge early season series at Dodger Stadium. Keaton Winn will take the mound for the Giants against James Paxton of the Dodgers. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM PST.