Andre Ethier Owns All That He Sees

Update, 4:09pm PST: Down go the D-Backs! How dirty do I feel after rooting for the Giants? Who cares, though. SWEEEEEP!!! Dodgers are now 3 games up. But alas, Martin still can’t buy a day off. Back to your regularly scheduled fawning over Andre Ethier…

How good has Andre Ethier been lately? There’s a whole lot of ways to go about it, but none that I find more enjoyable than this one: over the last month, Manny Ramirez has the 5th highest OPS in baseball (minimum 50 plate appearances) at an absurd 1.178. I almost like to think of that as really being the 4th highest, since one of the guys ahead of him is the incomparable Albert Pujols, who’s somehow having the best season of his already-great career despite having an elbow so badly injured he requires Tommy John surgery – the man is an alien, and it’s unfair to compare mere mortals to him. Anyway, the point is, Manny Ramirez has been so good that he’s been the 5th best hitter in baseball over the last month… yet he’s not even been the best hitter in his own outfield.
That’s right, Manny’s 1.178 OPS pales in comparison to Ethier’s 1.256 OPS. Ethier has now become the Dodgers leading hitter by VORP, and his 35.7 now ranks him 19th in the entire National League, ahead of such famous people as Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Delgado, Pat Burrell, Prince Fielder, and Adam Dunn. In the last seven days, he is – believe it or not – 14 for 22. A stat like OPS doesn’t mean all that much over such a short time period, but it’s so insane that I’m going to tell you anyway that it’s 1.840. His at-bats have become “must-see TV”, just as with Manny.
More importantly, however, the Dodgers are 2.5 games up on Arizona after winning in San Diego last night, even despite having Andruw Jones suck the life out of center field. Just in case anyone thought there was still hope for him this season, last night’s 0-4 with 2 strikeouts (and actually being responsible for five outs) should have ended any thought of that. The D-Backs are on the verge of getting swept in San Francisco (it’s scoreless in the 1st inning there as I write this), and as presumptuous as it seems to acknowledge this, the Dodgers actually have a magic number of 16.
May I suggest that Russell Martin finally get a day off tonight? With tomorrow’s off day, it may be the last chance to get him some legitmate rest that could really help him for the rest of the season.
Coming tomorrow, as promised: a preliminary look at what a possible playoff roster might look like. No, I can’t believe I just wrote those words either.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg