Max Muncy has made lots of noise with his rocket launcher of a bat. But the Los Angeles Dodgers slugger also can put his mouth where his money is, when necessary.
Last Sunday in a game against the rival San Francisco Giants, Muncy whipped around on a fat pitch from Madison Bumgarner and deposited the ball deep over the wall in right field and into San Francisco’s McCovey Cove. He dumped his bat to the ground and took a couple of steps out of the batter’s box, admiring the longball.
Bumgarner took umbrage that Muncy didn’t take off running like his hair was on fire, and angrily snapped at the former Baylor All-American.
So, Muncy snapped back — with a deliciously savage response.
“Bumgarner said, ‘Don’t watch the ball, you run.’ And I just told him if he doesn’t want me to watch the ball, go get it out of the ocean,” Muncy told LA’s Spectrum SportsNet in a postgame interview.
It’s another chapter in the always-sizzling Giants-Dodgers rivalry, though Muncy tried to downplay it afterward.
“It’s just him competing out there,” he said. “He was upset he made a bad pitch, and that’s all there was to it.”
That splash landing marked the start of a big week for Muncy. Two days later, he belted two home runs in a 5-3 loss to the crosstown Angels. On Thursday night, he added another bomb in a win over the Cubs. Coming off a breakout 35-home run year in 2018, Muncy is hitting a career-best .278 with 42 runs, 16 homers and 42 RBIs.
Ex-infielder turned closer now an all-star
West Tunnell’s pitching conversion has taken another unique turn.
When he was at Baylor, Tunnell, an Arizona native, served as a backup infielder and outfielder. He went undrafted in 2016, but signed a free-agent deal that winter with his hometown Arizona Diamondbacks, and made the transition to pitcher shortly thereafter.
Now, Tunnell has adeptly taken on the role of closer for his Class A team, the Visalia (Calif.) Rawhide. The 6-foot-1 right-hander has converted 11 of 12 save opportunities, registering a 1.27 ERA along with 29 strikeouts in 21.1 innings. His save total leads the California League.
Best of all, Tunnell was recently named as one of eight Rawhide players selected for the California League All-Star Game, which is set for Tuesday in San Bernadino, Calif.
Ashcraft assigned to Pirates’ Class A squad
The Pittsburgh Pirates assigned Braxton Ashcraft to the West Virginia Black Bears on Wednesday, their Class A team in Granville, W. Va.
Ashcraft spent last year with the Pirates’ Rookie League team in the Gulf Coast League.
Pittsburgh drafted the two-time Super Centex Player of the Year from Robinson in the second round of last year’s draft, straight out of high school. Ashcraft, a 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher, logged an 0-1 record with a 4.58 ERA in 17.2 innings in his debut pro season in 2018.
Robertson knocking around Triple-A pitching
Kramer Robertson is back in Triple-A, on the doorstep to the big leagues.
The former Super Centex star from Midway spent 20 days with the Memphis Redbirds in May before being sent to Double-A Springfield, where he opened the season. But he was promoted back to Memphis on June 8.
Robertson capitalized on the move, as he went 6-for-16 in his first five games after his return to Memphis. That included a 2-for-3 night Thursday that included three runs, a home run and five RBIs.
The St. Louis Cardinals picked up Robertson in the fourth round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of LSU. Last year at Class A Palm Beach, the shortstop hit .252 with 74 runs, 37 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 121 games.