As I certainly don’t need to tell you, the Dodgers have won 10 of their last 13 – including sweeps of the Mets and Rockies – and are now 18-7 in May, 18 games over .500, and 8.5 games ahead in the division. All this, despite playing a good chunk of the season without their best hitter and just about all of it without one of their best pitchers. And really, what team is going to be picking up a better hitter/pitcher combination at the deadline than Manny Ramirez and Hiroki Kuroda?
- Pirates – 9.46%
- Giants – 8.78%
- Mariners – 6.14%
- Rockies: 4.84%
- Athletics: 4.36%
- White Sox: 4.33%
- Marlins: 3.20%
- Orioles: 2.77%
- Diamondbacks: 2.58%
- Astros: 2.25%
- Nationals: 0.52%
You may have noticed that three of the other four NL West teams are represented on that “no chance in hell” list – the Giants, Rockies, and Diamondbacks. What’s more, the Padres, even after their impressive win streak, have only pushed themselves up to an 11.94% chance. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are there at a 93.3% chance of taking the division, and a 95.8% chance of making the playoffs. No other team even sniffs 80%, though I will of course grant the wekaness of the rest of the NL West plays a large role in that.
How discouraging must it be for National League teams to witness what the Dodgers are doing without Manny Ramirez in the lineup? You see a guy with Hall of Fame credentials sit for nearly two months, replaced by a speedy singles hitter and think maybe — just maybe — you’ve got a chance to gain some ground.
Then Juan Pierre goes out and forgets he’s not very good. No, he isn’t hitting like Ramirez — few people do — but he’s producing at a level (.404/.469/.544) that nobody could have anticipated. Granted, it’s a small sample, but Pierre has already covered more than one-third of Manny’s Surprise Vacation.
Even if he reverts to career norms tomorrow, Pierre has done enough damage to help keep opponents at bay. He is hitting like a legitimate big-league left fielder. That isn’t supposed to happen for any extended period of time, and when it does, it creates problems. What should be a weakness for the Dodgers isn’t.
One day you look up and realize that they are dominating with Pierre in the lineup. Then you remember that he’s just a temporary fix and that eventually Ramirez will return.
That can’t be a comfortable thought. I’m just sayin’.
We’re truly living a charmed life right now, aren’t we?