Manny just haddd to be Manny.
Manny Ramirez, hobbled in the first two games, was brought in the 8th inning of Game 3 as a pinch-hitter. He was the only thing standing between Barry Zito and win #3 in as many starts. Zito had just hung 7 1/3 innings of zeroes on the Dodgers before walking longtime A.L. West nemesis Garret Anderson. In came Romo… and Ramirez.
I’d like to revisit my previous column for a moment.
There, I noted how the Giants drive their fans nuts by scoring 9 runs in a game—when 2 would have sufficed for victory—then failing to match that number over the next 3 or 4 games. This affair stands as a classic example: San Fran went out on Friday and fell behind 10-3, then added 5 unnecessary and ultimately meaningless runs. Saturday, they score 9 when all they needed was one (though I acknowledge the Dodgers woulda played things differently had the score been close).
In the Sunday finale, Clayton Kershaw wrapped the Giants and all their offensive momentum up as tightly as his vaunted curveball. Yet, thanks to the fearless, rugged Juan Uribe—how did he get let go by the White Sox again?—cracked a late home run that snapped a 0-0 tie (lest this game go 20 innings like the Mets/Cardinals did Saturday; I’m not trying to see Eli Whiteside pitching and Jonathan Sanchez in left field).
But Manny blew it. The usually automatic Romo, whose failures since joining the team in 2008 have been few and far between, made a mistake to Man-Ram that wound up a souvenir. Manny just had to be Manny. Joe Torre brought him in to do one thing, Romo’s job was to stop him from doing one thing—and yet the one thing happened anyway. Why? Because Manny Ramirez is a Hall-of-Famer and one of the greatest hitters ever. Period.
Sure, he’s got the ridiculous hairdo. He cuts off throws from other outfielders. He disappears inside scoreboards. His helmet is covered in goop. He knocks down front office men and goes out clubbing when he claims he’s too sick to play. He demands trades annually, and also announces when he’s leaving his current team. His pants are too big, his fielding is dreadful at times, and he walks practically half the distance to first base when he goes deep. But when you are down 1-0 in the 8th inning against your hated rivals, and the series is on the line, there is only one man you want up to bat. There is only one Manny you want up to bat. And it’s not Lee or Delcarmen. If Ramirez wasn’t such a flake, he’d be a legend.
Much was made about the Dodgers resting their regulars and putting out a “B” lineup for Game 2 of the series vs. Tim Lincecum. I beg to differ.
The Dodger bench, fully healthy, consists of a 3-time Gold Glover at backup catcher (Brad Ausmus), a 3-time All-Star outfielder with 2500+ career hits (Anderson), an All Star 2nd baseman who started for 10 years in Milwaukee, Cleveland and elsewhere (Ron Belliard), and a guy who started for Toronto for years before platooning in Chicago (Reed Johnson). That’s not even including Jamey Carroll, who’s been one of the best subs in baseball the past decade. Though all these men probably sit in the dugout reminiscing about the days when they faced Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal, they’re all professionals who’ve accepted their roles. Los Angeles is a flawed team, but it does have depth. B-lineup my ass. That’s more than enough DODGER praise; let’s move on.
Though SF lost 2 of 3 in LA, they remain 8-4 and two games up on the rest of the division…for now, anyway, as they have been hit with their first wave of owies. Aaron Rowand was beaned by notorious plunker Vicente Padilla. I don’t think he meant to hit him in the face, but he did, and now Rowand is on the D.L. Which would have happened anyway, but by his OWN doing. Mark DeRosa is also gimpy with a hamstring injury. So there goes 67% of our starting outfield. Is it too late to call up Alex Anthopolous and say “That Fred Lewis deal? PSYCH!” The Blue Jays have enough ex-Giants on their roster anyway (Jeremy Accardo, Merkin Valdez).
One reason Padilla is a Dodger is because he was run out of Texas for hitting too many batters, leading to retaliatory bruises for his Ranger teammates. Any other guy beans Rowand, it doesn’t carry the same stigma. Fortunately, Lincecum nor Zito were dumb enough to retaliate for an accident and get ejected, which could have decimated the relief corps and affected the team long after Rowand’s return. Speaking of “The Code”, Matt Kemp tried to steal 2nd while the Dodgers were up 6 in Game 1, a game they’d ultimately win by just two. Some, like Mike Krukow, believe Kemp violated “The Code”. I disagree.
Ever since the Indians overcame a 12-run deficit to beat Seattle in 2001, this writer firmly believes you don’t stop trying to do everything you can to score until the last two, maybe three innings. The only “violation” Kemp committed was getting caught. Ballplayers are taught from Little League onward to never stop trying, always play hard until the game is over. They don’t qualify it with “…unless you’re ahead by a lot.” You don’t like other teams “pouring it on”? Here’s a thought: don’t fall behind!
DODGERS/GIANTS TRAIL MIX
The Dodgers showcased two members of that wretched 2002 Angels team which upset the Giants in the World Series—Anderson, and Ramon Ortiz, a starter for the Angels who now relieves. Last series vs. Pittsburgh, Bengie Molina—the ’02 Angels’ starting catcher—homered off Brendan Donnelly, a rookie setup man on the ’02 Angels. Elsewhere in baseball, Washington’s Livan Hernandez—Game 7 Giants goat—shut out Milwaukee, sandwiched around two games in which Adam Kennedy—the ’02 Angels starting second baseman—ripped 5 hits in 8 AB with 3 RBI. Ex-Giant starter Russ Ortiz, infamously handed the game ball in Game 6 with what seemed to be a secure 5-0 lead, was clinging to his career as a mop-up man for the Dodgers until being let go Monday.
Renteria went 1-for-13 against L.A. and is 3-for-31 since his torrid 11-for-16 start. On the bright side, Rowand’s beaning will not require surgery, but he will be squirming on the DL for two weeks.
GIANTS VISIT PETCO
Time to beat up on the 6-6 Padres. It’ll be Matt Cain vs. Clayton Richard (one of the prospects acquired from the White Sox for Jake Peavy) Monday at 7:05, followed by Jon Sanchez vs. Mat Latos (he made his first 10 starts last year) Tuesday at 7:05, followed by Todd Wellemeyer and ex-White Sock Jon Garland Wednesday at 3:35? The umps must want to get home in time to see The Middle.
The Giants have 4 scheduled off-Thursdays in April, and only four more off-Thursdays the rest of the season.
About the Author
Written by Joseph Davis
I've been a Giants' fan since 1990; I still remember my first game at Candlestick as if it were yesterday (Robby Thompson homered and the Giants downed Houston 7-3). Pushed for us to get that elusive championship and at last we GOT IT! You can see me on the softball field every week sporting my orange and black, and I'm raising my little girl to not follow in her A's-fan-mom's footsteps!