Manny trade pays off for Dodgers
Acquisition of 12-time All-Star helps push LA to NL West title
LOS ANGELES -- Hours before the July 31 Trade Deadline, the Dodgers were a struggling ballclub dealing with injuries, just one game out of the National League West race, but just one game over .500.Then, general manager Ned Colletti found a way to swing a deal for 12-time All-Star Manny Ramirez, and suddenly, a Dodgers offense lacking punch featured one of the top right-handed-hitters of all-time smack dab in the middle of its lineup. "If we didn't have him, I don't know what our chances would have been," said third baseman Casey Blake, acquired five days earlier. With Ramirez, the Dodgers went on an 18-5 tear to clinch the NL West and put Ramirez in the postseason for the 10th time in his illustrious career. "It obviously was enough to get us where we wanted to be," said Nomar Garciaparra. "Where we are right now." It's not tough to quantify the impact Ramirez has made for the Dodgers at the plate, leading the Majors with a .398 batting average, 53 RBIs, a .491 on-base percentage and a .757 slugging percentage since the trade entering Thursday, while his 17 homers tie Ryan Howard and Miguel Cabrera for first place in that time. After driving in 68 runs in Boston before the trade, Ramirez joined Carlos Beltran as the only players in baseball history to drive in 50 runs in both leagues in the same season.
"I just came here to play," Ramirez said. "I wasn't expecting anything out of myself. I wanted to show people that I could play the outfield, that was it."Ramirez has played a capable left field -- aside from a few lapses -- but more importantly, he has been at his best when the Dodgers have needed him most, with no performance bigger than his 4-for-4, two-homer outing on Aug. 30 in Arizona to almost single-handedly snap an eight-game losing streak and start an eight-game winning streak. One week later, his three-run homer and two-run double against Brandon Webb and the D-backs pushed the Dodgers into first place for the first time since April 4, a lead Los Angeles would never relinquish. Such performances mean Ramirez will be heading to postseason play with his third club after taking the Indians and Red Sox to the playoffs earlier in his career. "Not a lot of players get a chance to go to the playoffs, and I'm just blessed to go with Boston and go with the Indians," Ramirez said. "You want to win it all. That's when it counts. That's when you get the big feeling that you can't even describe when you win the World Series like we did in Boston.
|Before Manny (7/31)||.255||4.16||0.68||.375|
|After Manny (8/1)||.282||4.74||1.16||.444|
Andre Ethier: Before and After Manny
|Before Manny (94 gms)||.274||11||46||.442|
|After Manny (41 gms)||.361||9||29||.645|
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.