The Dodgers are off to a superb start. They often start strong, but this is different. They've been absolutely dominating. They're 21-8, far and away the best record in baseball, and they've broken the record for most consecutive home wins to start the season at 13. They could go 14 tonight against the might-as-well-be-AAA-league Washington Nationals.
And now this. Manny Ramirez suspended for fifty games because of a positive urine test for steroids in spring trainings. That's more than a third of the season. Ouch. He's leading the team in at the plate, batting .348 with six homers and twenty RBI. There's only maybe five guys playing ball right now as well as him, guys like Pujols and Youkilis and Cabrera.
Fantasy players, take note, because behind Ramirez in the depth chart is Juan Pierre. Pierre is a career .300 hitter, which is nothing to sneeze at, although he doesn't bring the same kind of power that Manny does (Ramirez has .641 slugging versus Pierre's .387). He is a little bit faster out there on the bases. Fortunately, 1) Joe Torre has a head for small ball as well as the swagger-stick version we've been seeing so far this year, and 2) Andre Either (.558) and Orlando Hudson (.538) are capable of extra-base hits.
But it's a huge setback to lose Manny for fifty games.