The big showdown took place on August 1st, 08 at Dodger Stadium. The first place Arizona Diamondbacks came to Dodger Stadium for a 4 game series and won the first game behind Ace Brandon Webb. Longtime star and future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson took the mound vs. the home team in the battle for the West Division. What Randy didn’t know 2 days prior is that he would have to face one extra dangerous hitter in the Dodger lineup named Manny Ramirez. The Dodgers acquired the star outfielder at the trading deadline the day before for a minor league pitcher and 3rd base prospect Andy LaRouche in a 3- team trade with Pittsburgh and Boston.
As the two teams battle for the playoffs, the Dodgers took a big leap in their offense adding Manny. Although he is a free agent at the end of the season, just having him the rest of this year should payoff dividends. LA will be a big support and the attendance will show. This game had a playoff like atmosphere as the sell out crowd provided Ramirez with a loud ovation every at bat. Manny had a chance to prove his worth in the 9th innings as the Dodgers squandered a 1-0 lead in the 7th when Tony Clark tied up the game with a monster home run over the centerfield fence off Chan Ho Park after replacing rookie Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw pitched 6 shutout innings before giving way. Stephen Drew doubled home the go ahead run off reliever Joe Beimel to give Arizona the lead. The Diamondback’s bullpen with Quails, Rauch and closer Brandon Lyon shut the door to preserve the victory. Lyon faced Manny in the 9th inning with a runner on but induced him to hit into a double play and got his 24th save retiring Jeff Kent for the final out. Ramirez ended up 2-4 with a nice hit in his second at bat and an infield lucky single as the Big Unit couldn’t get over in time on a soft grounder to first base. Randy Johnson settled in and picked up the win and his 293rd victory inching closer to the 300 milestone.
The Dodgers will hope to rebound in the final two games to stay close to the leaders, as the race gets hot in August and September. They will hope Manny Ramirez provides some power and experience to the team while hoping to not get too many “Manny being Manny” errors or distractions. For what they gave up plus Boston picking up the rest of this year’s salary, this trade was a no brainer. Be sure to get your tickets for upcoming home games as seats are selling fast now. Manny mentioned he is happy to be in LA and the feels he will be well received here from the community and new city.
More info, tickets and schedules at www.ladodgers.com