2009 MLB National League West Notebook
It just keeps getting messier for the Dodgers' Manny Ramirez. The Los Angeles Times reported in its May 15 edition that Ramirez's test contained high levels of synthetic testosterone and not the substance for which summoned the 50-game suspension.
The paper cited no trace of HCG and quoted three sources that had direct knowledge of the test. Owner Frank McCourt has been candid about wanting Ramirez to talk to his teammates and apologize in person for what happened. Finally, Ramirez met the team at its Miami hotel before Friday's game against Florida. Reportedly, the meeting was brief but Ramirez did apologize.
Of course, this is a distraction for the Dodgers, so the timing of their current roadtrip may be perfect. They appeared to play more relaxed in Philadelphia where they took two of three and are spending the weekend in Miami to play the Marlins.
It's turned into a black hole for the Padres. And that 9-3 start is such a distant memory. Going into a weekend series with Cincinnati, the Padres had dropped 13 of their last 15 and 19 of their last 23.
Plus, they are getting absolutely nothing from their starting pitching except headaches. They are 0-12 with a 5.47 ERA. The last time a San Diego starter won a game was Jake Peavy on April 16. In fact, starting pitchers have won only five games this year.
Rookie outfielder Dexter Fowler is still in a major offensive learning curve. The center fielder has been holding his own at the bottom of the order as he is hitting .250.
But the Rockies love his speed because he can cover spacious Coors Field. Fowler also has the ability to be a very good base stealer. Of course, that will take some time. Yet he is off to a good start as he has swiped 10 bases in 12 attempts (83%).
The Rockies are working on him cutting down on his strikeouts and learning to slap the ball to all fields. He had whiffed 25 times in his first 100 at bats.
Since the Diamondbacks changed managers from Bob Melvin to A.J. Hinch, let's take a look an see how that has been working out.
Before a weekend series in Atlanta had begun, the Diamondbacks were 1-5 and had scored a total of 24 runs in those games. Take away the 10 that they did score from that total and add a reasonable total of 5 to the mix, and you have about 19.
All in all, the change wasn't going to infuse an instant reversal to an offense gone bad because this is a team that just isn't ready to win.
The Giants have been the nice surprise story in the National League. They are least holding their ground because the rest of the division has fallen so far back of the Dodgers. At 18-16, they were five games behind.
Whether or not they have the offense to keep up over the next four months remains to be seen. To this point, they have been a little fortunate. As they continued their weekend series with the Mets, they had scored the fewest runs (136) of any team in baseball that has a winning record. The closest is Kansas City with 147.
The Giants are also one of two teams who have actually yielded more runs than they have scored. The other is Minnesota.
Usually, that kind of trend won't allow a team to stick around long.
By Kevin Lonnquist
> View all of the 2008 MLB team previews from Pro Baseball Fans