Los Angeles- As he's done so many times since joining the Dodgers at the Trade Deadline, Manny Ramirez led off the scoring giving the Dodgers a much needed early lead. Ramirez's two run double in the first inning off of San Diego Padres' starter Wade Leblanc was all the Dodgers needed to win, going on to a 10-1 rout of the Padres at Dodger Stadium Tuesday night. They picked up another game on the Arizona Diamondbacks, and dropped their magic number to clinch the NL West to three, giving them the opportunity to close it out on Thursday night against Jake Peavy. .
Ramirez, unquestionably the Dodgers' most valuable player, is now batting .395 with 16 home runs and 51 RBI in TWO MONTHS in Los Angeles. He's also brought out the best LA's young talent, spending much of his time coaching Matt Kemp, James Loney, and Andre Ethier, who seem to have come into their own as hitters with the help of the former Boston slugger.
The Question is: Even with Manny, how will the Dodgers fare against the NL's best in the playoffs? I'd like to think that they have a shot at the World Series, but in all honesty, how can the Dodgers, who seem to look awful against anything that resembles a good team, win a series with the Cubs, Phillies, Mets, or Brewers? I love the Bums, but they are a mediocre team in a horrific division. Manny has given the Dodgers the much needed power they needed to get past these mediocre teams, and indeed, he's making the's NL Pitchers look like high schoolers, but will it translate into October success?
I believe it might. Pitching dominates in October. With their 2nd best ERA in baseball, the Dodgers should be able to hold the opposition to minimal runs, and with Manny, a post - season monster in their lineup, they may just have the chance to surprise everybody. Remember, the 88 Dodgers were the clear underdog, and look what they did. Here are the matchups:
Dodgers vs Mets: Dodgers win easily. The Mets pitching, especially their bullpen, is in shambles. They will not make it out of the first round (if they even make it there) no matter who they play.
Dodgers vs Phillies: Tough call, but the Phillies have strong pitching of their own, and with the back end of that bullpen as strong as it is with Lidge and his 40 for 40 in saves this season, I'd give the edge to Philadelphia.
Dodgers vs Cubs: Oh yes, the Cubs, Baseball's second best regular season team. The Dodgers have a slightly better ERA than the Cubs do, but other than that their pitching matched up is a wash, but the offenses don't even compare. The Cubs win every hitting category except triples and stolen bases. Small ball vs power. In my opinion, a Championship series between the Cubs and Dodgers would be interesting indeed. I have no idea who would win it.
Hopefully the Dodgers keep up their winning ways. With the D-backs losing tonight, it's almost certain they will be in a division series with the Brewers or the Phillies. Los Angeles hasn't won a thing in twenty years. Could Manny have been what they needed to push through the weak national league? We will see.