The Los Angeles Dodgers placed infielder Max Muncy on the injured list ahead of their game against the Texas Rangers on Saturday because of a right side tightness. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers recalled Luke Raley from Triple-A Oklahoma City, according to Juan Toribo of MLB.com.
Muncy, who exited Friday's contest after a first-inning home run, had been off to a phenomenal start to the season. In 60 games, he'd hit .264/.418/.528 (164 OPS+) with 14 home runs and nearly as many walks (46) as strikeouts (50).
Indeed, Muncy's 3.3 Wins Above Replacement (per Baseball Reference's calculations) represented the most in the National League among position players. (A number of pitchers ranked ahead of him.) San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. had the second-most, a half-win back of Muncy. As a result, it was fair to label Muncy as one of, if not the frontrunner in the National League Most Valuable Player Award race.
Without Muncy in the fold, the Dodgers will likely turn to a first-base platoon featuring the aforementioned Raley and Albert Pujols. Pujols has hit .268/.317/.571 (143 OPS+) with five home runs in 19 games since joining the Dodgers in mid-May. The Dodgers have used Pujols extensively against left-handed pitchers: he's faced nearly 60 percent lefties since coming on board, as opposed to around 30 percent of the time during his stint this season with the Angels.
The Dodgers entered Saturday with a 38-25 record, good for second place in the National League West, 1 ½ games back of the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers' plus-100 run differential was the best in the NL, and the second best in all of Major League Baseball, behind only the Chicago White Sox.