With the breaking news that the San Francisco Giants’ Melky Cabrera must serve a 50-game MLB suspension for a positive testosterone drug test where he admits guilt, the Dodgers’ chances for winning the NL West can be described as:
== a) Improved far better than they were before Wednesday
== b) No better, no worse
== c) Actually, it puts more pressure on them.
We’d tend to go with the later at this moment.
There’s too many things up in the air to make this any kind of grand momentum change.
Of course, there was a disenable gloom hanging over at AT&T Park when the Giants started their afternoon game against Washington, less than two hours after the news of Cabrera’s suspension happened. The MLB Network had the game, and Giants broadcaster Jon Miller tried to explain to the home fans what was going on.
No mention of Barry Bonds in any of the conversation, interestingly.
The Nationals then jumped out to a 2-0 lead over Tim Lincecum. Not long after, the Giants tied the game against Stephen Strausburg.
The Giants aren’t going away. If anything, teams rally around adversity to prove the whole is better than one individual.
They suddenly become “The Expendables.”
Cabrera has a .314 average against the Dodgers in nine games so far this season — 32 points below his NL-second-best .346 average. He struck out seven times in 35 at bats, hit one homer and drove in only three.
Not really all that destructive for a guy who leads the NL with 159 hits, 52 multi-hit games and 82 runs.
The Dodgers have already won five of the first nine meetings, and the next three are this Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
The final three are the last three games of the regular season on Oct. 2-4 that will likely determine the final finish in the NL West.
By which point, the Giants, as they seem to do, will have figured out how to overcome the Cabrera disappearance.
Go back to when the Dodgers suffered a somewhat similar stomach blow – Manny Ramirez was ordered to serve a 50-game suspension in May, 2009. The Dodgers were 21-8 at the time, 6 games up on the Giants in the NL West. When he returned on July 3, they were 50-29 – still first in the NL West, 7 ahead of the Giants.
He ended up playing in more than 100 games, the Dodgers won the division, won the division series against St. Louis before losing to Philadelphia in the NLCS.
Teams react differently to setbacks. Injuries will play a bigger factor for each squad over the last 50-some games.
The Giants will no doubt miss having the man who took over the No. 3 spot in the lineup and became the All-Star Game MVP last month.
But this thing is far from over.