Here’s a look at some of the season numbers for the Dodgers and the Phils:

Runs scored
(NL rank)
799 (T-2) 700 (13)
Runs allowed 680 (3) 648 (1)
Starter ERA 4.23 (7) 3.87 (3)
Pen ERA 3.19 (1) 3.33 (2)

The Phillies had a fantastic offense, but were also among the best teams in the league at preventing runs. Their starters were in the middle of the pack, but, using ERA as the measure, nobody had a better bullpen. Los Angeles, on the other hand, was the best team in the league at preventing runs. The Dodgers starters and relievers both were tremendous. The team just couldn’t hit.

And then came Manny.

Manny Ramirez played his first game for the Dodgers on August 1 and hit an amazing 396/489/743 in 187 at-bats for LA. He hit 415/508/736 in August and 370/465/753 in September.

Here’s what the Dodgers did in their games this year before Ramirez arrived and after he arrived:




Pre-Manny (before 8/1/08)




Post-Manny (8/1/08 and after)




So they were better after Manny. A lot better. Still not scoring runs at the rate of the Phillies, but a lot better. The Phillies scored 799 runs in 162 games this season, about 4.93 a game, which is better than the 4.63 runs per game that the Dodgers scored in September, their best offensive month with Ramirez.

Manny was arguably better in August than in September (although he was amazing both months). Here’s what the Dodgers’ offense did in those two months and how it compared to the other teams in the NL

  Games R NL Rank R R/G
August 29 115 T-10 3.97
September 25 135 3 5.40

Remembering that Manny was a monster in August, hitting 415/508/736 in 106 at-bats, the Dodgers were still a bad offensive team. They scored 3.97 runs per game in August, worse than the 4.17 runs per game they scored in the 108 games before Ramirez arrived.

The point is this: The Dodgers had some miserable hitters this season. And if you put enough struggling hitters out there every day you can put yourself in a position where Manny is not enough. Loney, Kent, DeWitt and Pierre all got at least 350 at-bats and put up an OPS+ of under 100 for the Dodgers this season. The Phillies had one (Feliz). Angel Berroa got 226 at-bats for the Dodgers and hit a miserable 230/304/310. Andruw Jones hit 158/256/249 and got 209 at-bats before he was lost for the season in September.

Manny Ramirez can’t make up for all those guys.

In September, the Dodgers’ offense was a lot better. As if to illustrate the point, though, it wasn’t all Ramirez. Despite Ramirez’s 370/465/753 line, Andre Ethier was arguably even better. Ethier hit 462/557/692 in 78 at-bats in September.

Among NL players that had at least 75 plate appearances in September, Ethier’s 1.249 OPS was second best and Ramirez’s 1.218 was third. Ryan Howard led the NL with a 1.274.

But if the good news for the Phillies is that the LA offense isn’t all about Manny, the bad news is that the non-Manny component has recently received a tremendous upgrade. The Dodgers got Rafael Furcal back from the DL on September 24, taking the position back from the weak-hitting Berroa. Furcal got just 142 at-bats this season, but hit a remarkable 359/442/577 — his 1.019 OPS for the season was, by a wide margin, the best mark for any player that got at least 150 plate appearances as a shortstop in either league.