The Dodgers started May in fine form, winning their first six games to establish themselves as the best team in baseball. Then, it all came crashing down as their best player, Manny Ramirez, was suspended for 50 games thanks to the previously less well-known fertility drug Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, or HCG in short.
However, rather than suffer without their superstar, the Dodgers seemed to thrive without Manny. They averaged almost as many runs without him (5.26 per game) than with him (5.55 per game). It helped that Juan Pierre had the month of his life just as he took over Manny's starting left field job. Pierre hit .369/.435/.505 with 23 runs and 18 RBI in May.
The Dodgers also picked a good time to get increased production out of their starting pitchers, as the group put up a 3.26 ERA in May, while striking out 7.82 batters per nine innings.
Dodger Batter of the Month: This award was Juan Pierre's to lose going into the Friday game at Wrigley Field, as he was hitting well over .400 -- .408 for the month, to be exact. However, a one for 13 slide to end the month made it nearly impossible for Pierre to overtake Casey Blake. Blake, who did most of his damage from the eighth spot in the order, provided the power, hitting .353/.424/.624 with 17 runs and 18 RBI.
Dodger Pitcher of the Month: Randy Wolf took the mound six times in May, and the Dodgers won five of those starts. The only start they didn't win was one in which they scored six runs in the first inning while Wolf gave up only one run in six innings. More on that game in a minute. Wolf, who has been nothing short of spectacular this season, went 2-0 in May with a 2.35 ERA and has pitched six innings or longer in each of his last five starts.
May Record: 20-9 (.690)
156 runs scored (5.38 per game)
104 runs allowed (3.59 per game)
.692 pythagorean winning percentage
|May NL West Standings|
The last time the Dodgers won 20 games in May was 1962, when they went 21-7 in the second month of Dodger Stadium's existence. The last time the Dodgers won 20 games in any month was August 2006, when the club went 21-7 to help rebound from eight games under .500 to the NL Wild Card.
Overall Record: 35-17 (.673)
287 runs scored (5.52 per game)
200 runs allowed (3.85 per game)
.673 pythagorean winning percentage
|NL West Standings (thru May 31)
Favorite Game of the Month: It's very tempting to pick the press box debuts of either me or Phil, but my favorite game of the month was Clayton Kershaw's near no-hitter in Miami on May 17. Kershaw took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before allowing a double to Old Friend Cody Ross. It was Kershaw's first really good road start of the season, and was a nice punctuation on a successful road trip through the NL East.
Crazy Game of the Month: On May 7, the day of the Manny Ramirez suspension, the Dodgers took the field against the Washington Nationals amid all the hoopla surrounding the ballpark. After scoring six runs in the first inning, the Dodgers appeared ready to show the world they could win without Manny. After Randy Wolf left with a 6-1 lead after six innings, it looked as though the Dodgers would extend their Major League record season-opening home winning streak to 14 games. However, the bullpen simply imploded, allowing 13 hits, two walks, and 10 runs over the final three innings. The Dodgers' 11-9 loss was their first home loss of the season.
Bills & Brox: Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton continued their tendency to miss bats, each striking out more than a batter per inning in May. Broxton struck out 12.86 batters per nine, while Billingsley whiffed 9.37 per nine innings.
Pinch Me, The Dream Is Over: Not that anything can really be judged on such a small sample size, but after opening up the season 13 for 28, Dodger pinch-hitters had a rough May. They had five hits in 32 at-bats, and hit .156/.289/.281 during the month. On the bright side, Xavier Paul was pinch-hitting when he hit his first major league home run, in Miami.
Making Their Debuts: Dodgers to make their major league debuts in May were Brent Leach (May 6), Xavier Paul (May 7), and Jamie Hoffman (May 22).
Upcoming Month: The Dodgers continue their home cooking in June, with 17 of their 26 games at Dodger Stadium, where the club is 18-5 on the year. More than half of their games in the month are interleague games, as they host Oakland and Seattle, and travel to Texas, Anaheim, and Chicago (to play the White Sox).
Previous Monthly Reviews: April
*Jeff Weaver's stats were split into his starting and relieving duties.