A couple of newsworthy developments today around the Dodgers. First off, they won again tonight. They beat the Mets 4-2. LA's 39-8 record since June 22 is the best run of this length by a National League team since the New York Giants did it in 1951. They are doing it all without the help of slugger Matt Kemp, who has been hurt for weeks now and was not very good when he was playing. Tonight's star was starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is now 12-3 and 2.91 in his first year pitching in America. The Dodgers now have the biggest division lead of any first-place team in baseball except for Atlanta.
The other news is that Manny Ramirez was released today from his minor league contract with the Texas Rangers. Texas is in the middle of a pennant race — and still concluded that Manny couldn't help them. At 41 with a slowing bat, this may be — and arguably should be — the end of Manny Ramirez as a major league player. He hasn't played in the bigs since 2011, and then only for five games. He's likely got nothing left. The only question is whether some team will try to sell tickets by bringing in Manny as a sideshow when the dugouts add bodies in September.
Great career, if tarnished by drugs and antics: 555 home runs and a batting average of .312 over 19 seasons. One really thrilling season's worth of games for Los Angeles, and some fun sideshows. Salud. From 2009:
On to the new. The analytics site Baseball Prospectus took a detailed, graphics-supported look at Yasiel Puig's career so far and found he's a special case. After his sizzling first 20 games with LA, he slumped for 20 games as rival pitchers exploited the perceived holes in his game. At that point, the question was whether Puig was lucky or good. Well, in his last 20 games, Puig adjusted and began forcing pitchers to throw the pitches he wants. Some hitters never do that and fade away. "What’s really scary, and also exciting, is how quickly Puig altered his approach to correct a pattern that wasn’t working," writes Ben Lindbergh. "Your move, major leagues."
Puig, by the way, has become the Dodgers cleanup hitter and is already a better player than veterans Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford, and possibly better than the current version of Matt Kemp. Puig is second on the team in home runs to Adrian Gonzalez. He's still just 22 years old.
Tonight's Dodger game was off the air for many in Los Angeles because it was broadcast by KCAL 9, which is still blacked out to customers of Time Warner Cable.
LA Observed file photo: Manny Ramirez and Frank McCourt in Glendale, Arizona in 2009.