Dodger Loss Has Nothing To Do With Manny

Manny who? Without the big bat of Manny Ramirez in the middle of the lineup the Dodgers still scored six runs in the first inning nine for the game.

And they still lost. The Dodger bullpen fell apart and gave up 10 runs in the last three innings and the Dodgers lost for the first time this year at home (a 13-1 record at Chavez Ravine).

Surrounded by a fan base that seemed quick to forgive — there were still plenty of Ramirez jerseys in the crowd — the Dodgers looked like they were trying to prove that they didn’t need the big bat. They scored six runs in the first inning capped off by Matt Kemp’s third career grand slam.

That looked like enough for starter Randy Wolf, who threw six innings of five-hit, one run ball.

Then the Dodger bullpen came in. Ramon Troncoso gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning in the seventh. Then in the eighth Cory Wade came in and gave up four earned runs. Brent Leach gave up two more (and now has an ERA of 18.00). And within a couple of innings what had looked like a comfortable win turned into the Dodgers first loss of the year at home.

The Dodgers mounted an eighth inning rally against former Dodgers lefty Joe Beimel, scoring one run and loading the bases again. But Juan Pierre, the player who will be replacing Ramirez primarily in left field, grounded out to end the threat.

All the talk at the game seemed to be about Ramirez, who will lose nearly $8 million as he sits out until July 3 with his 50-game suspension.

Manny has been the Dodgers biggest draw — there was a section of seats renamed Mannywood this season. There are more Ramirez 99 jerseys in the stands than anyone else. He puts people in the seats and helps the team on the field, with a team-best .348 batting average and six home runs.

Still, fans seemed to be willing to welcome him back. We’ll see if that’s the case, and if the Dodgers (now 21-9) are still in first place come July 3.

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