Tagged: Manny Ramirez

Expect the Unexpected

This phrase is one that most people know and understand, one that applies to every day life.  It is a simple one.  Meaning that you can’t always expect what is supposed to happen.  Sometimes, unexpected occurrences happen and you don’t know what to do.  Sometimes the unexpected isn’t anything hard to deal with but you just didn’t expect it to happen.  It’s not that hard to understand which is why it is a critical saying to general every day life.

Now, think about this.  If I asked you who would win the NL Wild Card, you would probably give me a breakdown of every division and who would come in first and second.  Then you would probably figure out who has the best chance at having the best record among the second place teams.  So, I did a little experiment with my pal Jay.  He was unaware of my intentions to put this in my blog so he’ll figure out later.

Me: Jay, how do you think the NL playoffs will be shaped up at the end of the season.

Jay: The Dodgers, no doubt, are gonna win the West.  That’s no question.

Me: I agree 100%.  How could Manny and Ethier and Furcal and the O-Dog go without winning that division.  They’re just too good and too consistent.

Jay.  I think the Cards will pull it out in the Central because they have Holliday now to bat behind Albert.  Too much power and good enough pitching to get along.  Now the East is the toughy.

Me:  It always is.  That’s why I say the Phils are gonna repeat as NL East champs.

Jay: I think the Phils will as well.  The Mets were my pre-season choice but now with all the injuries I can’t pick them and you’ve got to like what their doing down in Philly.

Me: That addition of Cliff Lee will probably end up being the biggest, most important trade of tbe year if the Phils get deep into the playoffs.

Jay: I think the Cubbies could make a run at the Wild Card.  They have been playing better of late and I think they will continue winning and take themselves into the playoffs.  I think that’s how it’ll all work out.

Me: That’s a very intersting look at things but it’s your decisions and I can’t make them for you.  Thanks man.

Jay: No problem.

This conversation took place over the phone a day after the Cards aquired Matt Holliday from the Athletics.

Now, I agree with every one of those predictions except the one that the Cubs will win the wild card.  How can you not think about the Rockies.  They have been playing really well of late and they are at the top of the Wild Card standings.  Jay said that he still thought the Cubs will streak right past both Colorado and San Fran but I don’t think that’s going to happen.  The Cubs may be playing great of late but the Rox are too.  I think they will pull away.

Now why would I go to all this trouble just top see who someone would pick to win the Wild Card?  Because seriously, who would think the Rockies would be in the playoff picture at all.  And how ’bout the Giants too.  I don’t think I would meet anyone that thought they would have a chance at the playoffs.  This is why you have to EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

The Rox have a real good chance at makign the playoffs as the Wild Card.  They pulled away another  game yesterday with a win and the Giants’ loss.  The Rox are riding a four game win streak and I don’t think they will let anyone stop them from getting to the playoffs.

Even though the Rox were in the playoffs in 2007 in which the Red Sox beat them in four games, they were unexpected to be there that year too.  They just weren’t considered a good enough team to get that far into the playoffs.  Somehow they did and then they got swpet by a really good Red Sox team.  But still, the point is that they were unexpected to be there.  Same with this year but they may just do it.

Watch out MLB, here come the Rox.  And maybe even the Giants.

-Dillon

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Re-Mark-Able

First there was Jonathon Sanchez’s no hitter, the first of the year.  The game was full of excitement and close plays.  The game saving rob from Aaron Rowand in the ninth.  Only the error by Uribe seperating him from a perfect game.  And the mere perfection from Sanchez that put him into the history books with the greats.  Well, Mark Beuhrle is already there.  Having thrown a no hitter in 2007, Beuhrle added onto his career of STELLARNESS by throwing a perfect game against the defending champion Rays.  That’s right, Mark Beuhrle has thrown a perfect game on July 23, 2009.  This picture, duplicated just an hours ago.

The game kept fans on there feet.  It must have been such a great moment there.  To have a ticket to that game must have been amazing (not knowing what would happen of course, but now that it has… wow).  Beuhrle and the White Sox were… well let me say it… RE-MARK-ABLE!

Like Sanchez’s no hitter, a late game rob saved their moment in history.  Aaron Rowand robbed what might have been a home run in the ninth inning of Sanchez’s no hitter.  In today’s game against the Rays, a defensive replacement in center, Dewayne Wise, robbed a sure home run from Gabe Kapler and preserved the perfect game for Beuhrle.  This was the single most important moment in the game, as was Rowand’s catch.  Another great play was Gordon Beckam’s line drive catch at third after a long at bat from Pat Burrell.  Honestly, it wasn’t all that well hit, but still, if he wasn’t there… there goes the perfection.  On offense, Beuhrle wouldn’t have needed much but he got it anyway.  Josh Fields hit a grand slam to start things off.  Then, Alexei Ramirez and Scott Podsednik hit back to back doubles to get the score to 5-0.  That would be four more runs than Beuhrle would need.

Beuhrle, already among some of the greatest names in history, adds to his already STELLAR career with this perfect game.  In his outing, he went the full nine innings, had six K’s and gave up nothing to the Rays offense.  That’s right.  Carlos Pena, BJ Upton, Evan Longoria… they were all held silent by Beuhrle.  Perfection.  Such a great sight to see.

Beuhrle joins a great group of names of those who have thrown a no hitter and a perfect game on different occasions.  The list includes the likes of Randy Johnson and… well, I forget who else but it is definitely a list to cherish being a part of.  Beuhrle was absolutely STELLAR in what was clearly the most exciting part of this season.  First there was Sanchez’s no hitter.  Then just last night, Manny Ramirez’s pinch hit grand slam.  Another great moment.  And now a perfect game from Beuhrle.  And just think about this… we’ve only just begun the second half of the season.  We still have the rest of the second half to go.  There’s still the playoff race to sit back and enjoy.  Then the playoffs themselves.  It’s going to be great and this season is going to be even greater.  Just wait.

Absolutely RE-MARK-ABLE.  Congrats to Mark Beuhrle on yet another phenominal accomplishment.

-Dillon

Manny Makes Grand Statement

After sitting out the start of the game on Manny Ramirez bobblehead night, Man-Ram came off the bench in the sixth inning and met a frenzy from the crowd which was ecstatic to see him appear in the game.  With the bases loaded, Manny stepped up to the plate and slugged the first pitch he saw into Mannywood.  The crowd was absolutely insane.  It must have been so loud (I mean you can only tell so much from the video).  It was Manny’s 21st grand slam of his career which puts him two behind the great Lou Gehrig who’s got 23.

A crazy moment, makes you think of another famous Dodger pinch hit home run.  Yeah that’s right, you all know who I’m talking about.  Kirk Gibson.  His famous pinch hit homer in the 1988 World Series.  It was just a crazy “you got to be kidding me” moment.  It is just ridiculous and sends the crowd into a frenzy.  In Manny’s case, the crowd got into a frenzy just by seeing him come out into the on deck circle.  And then to hit it on the first pitch… WOW!

This homer by Manny was his first career pinch hit homer which is surprising.  But then again, how many times has he had to pinch hit?  This statement by Manny, I think, is huge and it shows that he is still the homer hitting powerhouse that he has always been despite being suspended for his drug use.  This whole situation has been confusing and annoying as a fan to pay attention to, but it’s over and Manny is still Manny.  The home run hitting, acting up, and life of the Dodgers Manny.  This just proves it.  Such a great moment for Manny to do it front of the home crowd in LA too.  Congrats to Manny!

-Dillon

So What Did I Miss?

I’ve been pretty busy the past few days and have been unable to get a post up here so I’m sorry for all of you readers who have had to wait for another post to come up.  Well, I had some people staying at my house and we’ve been pretty busy.  So that’s that.

When the people who were staying at my house left this morning, the first thing I did was check the MLB.com page to see what’s been going on the past few days.  So here are my headlines.

  • Yanks are still 3 games back of the Red Sox.
  • The Yankees and Phillies both made clutch late performances to come up with wins.
  • Clay Buchholz was phenominal in his return to the Red Sox rotation against the Jays.
  • Roy Oswalt had it going against the Dodgers.
  • Ryan Braun got hit in the hand by Bronson Arroyo and left the game with a sore wrist.

So now that I am all caught up, I thought I’d talk a little about the second half and what is to come in the MLB.  It’s going to be exciting and I can’t wait.  I am pumped for the playoff runs to come, to see who will take the top spots in the divisions around the league, who will get that wild card spot.  It’s going to be great.

Let’s start off with them Yankees.  Of course.  Right now, they are 3 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East.  They’ve been stuck in this position for a while now and I’d like to see it change.  If we could get a few games back from the Red Sox that would be STELLAR.  We got a win last night apparently against the Tigers.  Some late game heroics from Mr. Teixeira gave us the lead and we kept it to take the series opener 5-3.  This is good but Clay Buchholz and the rest of the Red Sox pitching kept the Jays at bay and won their game as well.  So the standings stayed the same… again.  It’s great that we’re winning, but we need the Red Sox to lose to get anywhere.

Now, transitioning from the Yankees-Tigers game… Curtis Granderson, the Tigers centerfielder, one of the heroes from the All Star Game, and my favorite player kept his STELLAR play going by going 2-4 with a home run and 2 runs scored.  He has been having a great season so far and I love to see him keep it up.  The Tigers are at the top of the AL Central right now and Granderson has been a big part of their offensive success.  Keep it up man.

Next on my list from inside my head is the Dodgers.  Man, how good are they.  Now, they lose some here and there but so far in the first half of the season, they have racked up the wins and have the best record in baseball.  They do it so quietly too.  It’s weird.  They have the play-makers on their team that are starting to be recognized for what they have done such as Andre Ethier, the O-Dog and Rafael Furcal.  But as a team, they are very quiet and do very well without making a ton of noise.  I think they will continue to play extremely well and will most likely have the best record at the end of the regular season and will have the top spot in the NL West… as usual.  Manny’s return just strengthened a team that had already been thriving without him.

How about that Albert Pujols?  After a disappointing All Star Game, Pujols bursted out with a 2-4 night, including a home run, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored.  He was just STELLAR.  His offensive production is the single most important aspect to the Cardinals’ game.  If he is not playing well, the Cardinals are going to struggle.  Now, I don’t see that happening but if it does, that’s how things are going to be.  Pujols is the best player in the MLB and is clearly recognized for it and has a very important role.  He’s fantastic!

That’s all for now, so until next time…

Adios!

-Dillon

Stars Shine Bright Part 2

Carl Crawford shined the brightest among the star studded rosters that participated in the 80th All Star Game last night.  With a game saving catch to rob the Rockies’ Brad Hawpe of a home run and a 1-3 night at the plate, Carl Crawford was awarded the All Star Game MVP trophy from the commish Bud Selig.  A great honor for Crawford who’s STELLAR play kept the AL in the game and gave them their 12th win in 13 years of All Star play.  Congrats to Crawford for his achievement.

The game was a very good one, keeping me alert at all times.  Different from the Home Run Derby the night before, the game was exciting and it was definitely worth watching.  Most of the action happened early as the AL scored twice in the top of the first.  The NL scored three times in the bottom of the second to go ahead in the game.  Hmmmm.  Maybe the NL had a shot at winning this thing.  Well, maybe not.

In the fifth, the AL tied the score up with a run on a combined effort from Joe Mauer and Derek Jeter.  The game then stayed scorelss until the eighth in which my favorite player, Curtis Granderson, tripled to deep left off the wall.  Just missing a home run, Granderson swiftly made his way to third to put the go ahead run on.  He was then driven in by an Adam Jones deep sacrifice fly.  In fact when the ball first left his bat, I thought it was going out, but the wind must have knocked it down because it was just short of the warning track.  It was deep enough to drive in Granderson and the AL went ahead.

The NL was then on the ropes for yet another loss in the All Star Game.  They were unable to score in the bottom of the eighth as Joe Nathan got out of a little jam in which he had walked a guy and gave up a hit.  In the bottom of the ninth, as he has his whole career, Mariano Rivera stepped up to the mound and shut down the NL 1-2-3.

Now, as I said in my first edition of this post, defense is a huge aspect of baseball, whether you think it is or not.  In last night’s game, the ball off Brad Hawpe’s bat would have left the yard (barely) if it wasn’t for the great hustle from Crawford.  His great concentration allowed him to catch the ball while hitting the wall.  Michael Young made a couple nice plays over at third base in place for Evan Longoria who was a late scratch with an infection of his finger.  All over the field, people were making some good plays.  Ironically enough, each team had an error.  Well, it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference but still… kind of ironic.

The All Star Game was a blast to watch.  I was pumped that Curtis Granderson was a huge part of the game with his triple and game winning run.  I didn’t know if he would get that much playing time but he did.  In fact, his first at bat was when he hit the triple.  That was the turning point in the game.  It broke a tie and it broke the NL’s chances of winning for the first time in 13 years.  Also, I was glad that Jeter and Rivera had good games.  Teixeira didn’t really have any huge plays but his presence at first was felt as he played a solid game.  The Yankees were well represented with their old skipper on the opposite bench, Joe Torre.

The starting pitching was supposed to be STELLAR but in fact, it wasn’t that STELLAR.  Lincecum had trouble in the first inning where he gave up two runs on two hits.  On the other side of things, Halladay gave up three runs on four hits.  Only two of them were earned as one run scored on a Josh Hamilton throwing error.  The rest of the game, the pitching was pretty good.  Solid all around and it was a great thing to watch.

The All Star Game in general was pleasing to me.  It got me back on track with baseball after a disappointing Home Run Derby Monday night.  I’m pumped for the rest of the season and it is going to be a good one.  The stars shone bright last night and the stars are going to shine bright the rest of the season as the playoffs near.  The Yankees and Red Sox race for the top of the AL East is going to be a good one.  The NL Central is about as tight as it gets.  Everyone’s got a chance.  The AL Central looks like the Tigers are going to take it.  The Dodgers are still the best team in the bigs and will continue to play like it.  Manny’s return will help them even more.  It’s going to be a great second half of the season and I am psyched.

-Dillon

And The Bat Goes Boom…

Andre Ethier #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits the ball against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium September 23, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

Andre Ethier accomplished a feat yesterday that not many people have done.  Not that it hasn’t been done, because it has, but it isn’t very common.  He hit three bombs in a single game against the Mariners.  This feat by Ethier was a big contribution to the Dodgers’ 8–2 victory over the M’s in which 6 out of the 8 Dodger runs were driven in by Ethier.  It just goes to show how important the long ball is.  Now, people may argue about that saying that manufacturing runs is more important to a game (I would be one of them) but the long ball can be a big help as well.  As long as you can get runs across the board, it all works out and the long ball was working for Ethier last night. 

So, with the three jacks from last night, Ethier’s home run total for the season is at 14.  He’s also got 49 RBI and is just tearing it up for the Dodgers.  He has been their most important offensive player over the course of the Manny Ramirez suspension.  He is what is keeping the offense rolling in LA.  If he can hit on the road as well as he has hit at home this season, he can be an extremely dangerous force for the Dodgers.  When Manny comes back, the offense will be back to the way it was, generally.  But if Ethier keeps it up and the Dodgers find a way to keep Juan Pierre in the game, they will be a very good team.  Maybe they can find a way to derail the streaking Rockies.

The Dodgers finish up interleague play against the Mariners today and tomorrow and then it’s back to NL-NL.  I am predicting they will continue to roll on the way they have been.  They will continue to be successful all around.  There pitching has been good and Ethier has led the STELLAR offense with his hitting and they should continue to be a great show to watch.