Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez had a pretty successful series against his former mates in L.A.’s three game stint against Boston at Fenway.
Unfortunately, Manny’s current teammates didn’t have the same luck. The Dodgers were swept by the Red Sox over the weekend, pushing their losing streak to four games and currently placing them two games behind the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers’ rotation, which just missed a Clayton Kershaw start and were without the injured Chad Billingsley, got absolutely shellacked by Boston’s big bats, giving up 10 runs in the opener in a 10-4 loss and then proceeding to lose 5-4 and 2-0 over the weekend.
Ramirez, on the other hand, gave Red Sox Nation a reason to take a trip down memory lane. After going 1-for-5 and striking out for the final out of Game 1, Man-Ram came back with a vengeance. In Game 2, the unpredictable slugger went 2-4, including a solo homer off of ancient knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. Ramirez even felt a little spry in his legs and stole his first base of the season. In the finale, Ramirez went 2-for-3, finishing the series 5-for-12 with one homer, one RBI, one stolen base and one walk. That, of course, wouldn’t be enough.
The weekend no-show by Joe Torre’s boys gives the Dodgers a inter-league record of 2-7, and tonight they will travel to Anaheim to face an Angels team that swept them earlier this month and then get to host the perennially-stacked Yankees for a three-game series. Now, I find the idea of inter-league play to be stupid and that its sole purpose of existence is to milk some ticket sales out of fans by showcasing once-interesting inter-league match-ups. Yes, the Subway series used to be entertaining but, now that it’s done every year, it has lost some of its luster. Sure, Manny returning to Fenway was a nice story and the mixture of boos and cheers he received in the introductions was a nice moment to talk about at the water cooler, but that thrill is over. For every Yankees-Mets series you get, there’s also Nationals-Royals or Pirates-Indians. The allure of having two teams from different leagues face each other in the World Series is that it would, theoretically, be something fans hadn’t seen all year. That has now changed. Joe Torre taking on his former team next week takes all the excitement out of a potential Dodgers-Yankees match-up. What could have been a great October Winter Classic was sacrificed for some June ticket sales.
Back to the Dodgers, all of the steam from a hot May and early June has now evaporated. The Padres haven’t cooled off and now seem poised to keep first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the hopes of making a postseason run. On top of that, the Dodgers’ slide has opened the door for the San Francisco Giants to enter back into the NL West mix. The top three of the NL West is now separated by two games, with the Dodgers sitting in third place. The Angels, meanwhile, have won three of their last four and already took it to the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium in the last couple weeks. This time, the series is in Angel country.
We always write off the first two months with the classic cliche “It’s still early”, and truth be told, it is still early. However, the Dodgers have now had their hat handed to them by yet another American League ballclub and they currently sit behind two teams that were considered NL West afterthoughts in spring training. Plus, if past seasons have taught us anything, we haven’t heard the last of Colorado either when the second half rolls around. The Dodgers don’t need to just beat their crosstown rivals this week. They need to make a statement. The Angels will be trotting out Ervin Santana, Joel Pineiro and Scott Kazmir, two of the three pitchers that smoked them the last time. That trio is a combined 19-16. They can be had.
The season might still be early but, eventually, it won’t be. The inconsistency of this Dodgers ballclub cannot keep being placed on key injuries. On paper, this is still a contender. It’s time for them to prove it…..before it becomes too late.
About the Author
Written by Dave Leonardis
Born and raised in New Jersey, I've been writing since I was 10 and blogging since I was 18. I'm a huge sports nerd, following football, baseball and basketball in particular in close detail. My style is very upfront. I don't pull punches and I'm not shy about criticizing anything I feel deserves a proper tongue-lashing. If you're looking for someone who says what he wants, when he wants, then look no further than this guy right here.