a 2009 NL West Preview: 2009 MLB National League West Updates
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2009 MLB National League West Notebook


Manny wasn't being Manny. Manny was not being very smart.

When the story broke on May 7 that the Los Angeles Dodgers' slugger tested positive for a banned substance and had to start serving a 50-game suspension immediately, it cast a cloud of doubt over him and the legitimacy over everything he has accomplished in his career.

While it's appreciated that Ramirez apologized for his actions -- he pretty much had no choice but to go this direction -- it could jeopardize his potential of making the Baseball Hall of Fame. Mark McGwire still sits out there. Rafael Palmeiro will likely never make it. Each are 500 home run hitters who are watching their Hall of Fame chances wither because they were caught with banned substances.

Ramirez will forfeit about $8 million of his $25 million salary this year. The banned substance is reportedly an artificial testosterone. It's not steroids. But it's also not a good thing either.

Here are Ramirez's career numbers: .315 BA, 533 HR, 1,745 RBIs. And every single one of them will be questioned. There was enough precedence out there for him to avoid this because of the aforementioned players.

Unfortunately, the court of public opinion and the age of immediate judgment plays a larger role than during the timeframe when the actual truth is revealed.

You hope Manny Ramirez made an honest mistake. It will take some time to determine if he really did.


Bob Melvin's dismissal as the Diamondback's manager wasn't the result of the 12-17 start this year. Really, the 12-17 start was just the final straw to the case that was built from the 2008 season.

Arizona led the division for most of last season but was caught and passed by Los Angeles around Labor Day. Since then, the Diamondbacks have just scuffled. Their .222 team batting average is the worst in baseball, they are averaging 3.6 runs per game and young players weren't developing.

The job now goes to 34-year-old A.J. Hinch, who moves from the front office in player development. Hinch has no experience managing. We'll see how that translates.

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The Rockies were going to make sure that if Randy Johnson was going to get to 300 career wins, he wasn't going to get closer to the mark doing it against them.

The San Francisco veteran left-hander stood at 298 wins. But what stood out was that he had pretty much victimized the Rockies sporting a 19-8 lifetime record. Colorado got pretty messy with him by scoring seven runs in 5 2/3 innings and belting two home runs on May 6. Johnson didn't even record a strikeout.

In a sign that Todd Helton appears to be getting more and more healthy. He is driving the ball better with three home runs and a .355 batting average, which ranks fourth in the National League.


The Giants may be last in the majors in runs scored with 99, but they have the art of timing on when they score them down perfectly.

When the Giants score first, they are 12-0 this season. Of course, they need to pick up their scoring prowess to help a pitching staff that is starting to meet preseason expectations. One of the arms starting to pick it up is right-hander Matt Cain who is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA through his first six starts. Cain has been pretty reliable by making well over 30 starts in each of the last three seasons. But his 33-44 career record is skewed because of a lack of run support. 29 of his wins have come when the Giants score at least three runs for him.

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Right-hander Jake Peavy joined a club where few would want to. In a recent outing against Arizona, Peavy struck out a season-high 12 batters. And he lost. Arizona beat San Diego, 3-1.

Accoring to the Elias Sports Bureau, pitchers who have fanned 12 in a game this year are 1-4 with two no decisions. Last year, those pitchers were 11-2. Peavy is second in the National League in strikeouts with 52, two behind the Mets' Johan Santana.

Since the beginning of the season, questions have surfaced about whether the Padres will keep him or trade him because of his $11 million salary. San Diego entered the weekend trailing Los Angeles by 7 1/2 games.


By Kevin Lonnquist
MLBcenter.com Staff Writer

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