One year ago today, Manny Ramirez returned from suspension, and we had our first True Blue LA road event, heading down to San Diego to watch a Dodger win. I wrote a piece for SB Nation Los Angeles looking back at the last year since Manny came back:
The Dodgers have played 162 games since Ramirez returned last year, the equivalent of a full season. They have an 88-74 record during that span, thanks largely to a productive outfield, including Manny:
Dodgers Outfield Since July 3, 2009 Pos Player G PA R HR RBI BA/OBP/SLG OPS LF Ramirez 136 527 71 21 82 .291/.398/.506 .904 CF Kemp 160 691 108 29 103 .278/.333/.484 .817 RF Ethier 144 626 89 28 101 .299/.372/.541 .913
To put this production in perspective, this season there are only eight outfielders with a .900 OPS in at least 200 plate appearances, Ethier and Ramirez included.
In 2008, Ramirez almost literally carried the Dodgers farther into the playoffs than they had been in 20 years. Last season, the Dodgers showed they were more than just Manny. This season, currently three and a half games behind the Padres in the National League West, the Dodgers will need a healthy Ramirez down the stretch if they plan on making the playoffs for a third consecutive season.