Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Source of Manny's Slumpiness

Manny Ramirez is visibly slumping, looking lost at the plate and swinging poorly on pitches that he would absolutely crush earlier this season, and in particular late last season. Yes, it might be the lack of steroids, of course. But I'd been trying to track where the slump began, to see if there might be other explanations.

I'd thought it was the Bobbleslam Curse, since Manny is batting .245 with a horrific .709 OPS since the pinch-hit grand slam. The team has gone 13-16 in this period, in which Ramirez has hit but two home runs across 29 games.

But Darren Everson of the WSJ thinks Reds pitcher Homer Bailey is to blame, since two games prior (July 21), losing pitcher Bailey had plunked Manny on the hand:

Manny Ramirez fans may be wondering if his 50-game drug suspension has affected his performance at the plate. But Mr. Ramirez's decline dates to July 21, when he got hit on the left hand by a Homer Bailey fastball. Before the plunking, Mr. Ramirez had hit .333 in 48 post-suspension at-bats; in the 30 games since (before Monday night [on which the Dodgers did not play! Should have checked the schedule, Darren]), he was at .252, including a 44-at-bat RBI drought that began two at-bats after he got hit by the pitch.

The drought point is well-taken, and supports his theory more than mine if you believe that RBI are entirely under Manny's control. If not, the BobbleSlam Curse batting average is a more telling indicator. Any other theories to why our Manny is slumping? And more importantly, any thoughts on how we can get Manny out of this slump?

15 comments:

Andrew said...

Perhaps when he got hit, he umm, you know, got injured?

Fred's Brim said...

I believe the hand hypothesis. While playing basketball at the end of June, I got my hand stepped on during a play and I thought I had broken it. Luckily x-rays told me I hadn't, but it sure felt like it for at least a couple of weeks. I was barely able to type and write. In the couple of weeks after that, I still had trouble gripping things or applying weight to it (like using it to balance myself against something). Even as recent as a couple of weeks ago, while I could do most things normally, it still hurt like hell to receive a handshake.

I would say that it took me, with no painkillers or HGH or rehab, 6-7 weeks to feel like normal again. Manny is at 5 weeks since getting hit - I bet he starts rolling again verrry soon

Neeebs said...

FB: How could someone step on your hand if you are in the process of dunking the ball? Don't you play above the rim? :-)

Also, what type of UK music sites do you frequent? Most of the music I listen to these days is from UK or Europe.

Josh S. said...

The hand seems like the most likely candidate, but it doesn't explain him watching good pitches go by. I don't think he'd pass on swinging at something just because he thought his hand was going to hurt.

It's in his head. He's spent the better part of the season having to listen to anyone with an opinion tear him to shreds (some of it deserved, some not). That can't be good for someone's psyche, let alone someone like Manny, who never was exactly even-keeled to begin with.

Plus he's getting (I hate to use this term, because I'm only a couple years younger) old. He's still a great ballplayer, but he's on a team with surging stars like Kemp and Ethier. Who knows what it does to him inside to see those guys step up and be game-winning heroes when he knows he's getting paid millions to do just that?

Or, he could just not care whether he hits or not.

Paul said...

FB,

I hope you are right. The only problem is that if that is the reason why Manny is slumping he hasn't had much time to rest his hand. He puts a lot of stress on his grip everyday he hits. That could prolong the healing process.

I hope he is okay, frequently in sports you will see a guy say he is not injured but after the season admit he wasn't 100% and only a few weeks of rehab and rest will cure it. I hope that is not the case because he could have certainly rested a few weeks in July and Aug to be completely healthy for the strech run.

Fred's Brim said...

Neebs, it happened when my team was carrying me around the gym on their shoulders after I scored the game-winning points on a stunning windmill drunk. In their euphoria, they dropped me and I got stepped on :/

and i post on the Ninjatune site. They have an active forum there. I don't post there as much as I used to but it's still fun when I want to burn a couple of hours at work

rbnlaw said...

I blame the hand. I broke mine a few years back, and it took a good 6-9 months to get it back to even 90%. I had problems with numbness and grip, much like FB.

As for his "eye," he's being overly cautious. I did notice how the local douchewriters jumped all over his slower bat speed, blamed it on steroids, and forgot all about the hand injury.

Nic j said...

As for manny watching pitches go by I think manny is no longer getting the benefit of an elite hitters strike zone. Borderline pitches that were being called balls before because if manny didn't swing at it, it must not be a strike. Maybe it has to do with him getting the suspension and umps are no longer giving him that. As for him looking at balls right over the plate I don't know about that. Keep in mind manny does tend to get unfocused.

The slump ends tonight though, manny knows this is no time to fool around.

Dusty Baker said...

The nagging hand injury is probably a part of it, which then leads to his diminished confidence at the plate. Combine that with the fact that clearly pitchers have all received a memo stating that they should pitch him inside, and you have a slump.

Credit to him for not publicly making any excuses, including that his hand hurts.

Manny, please start being Manny again!

JuanLove said...

Nic, I was thinking the same about the umps. I'm sick of it. Kinda lame of me since, but oh well.

He'll be back

karina said...

"And more importantly, any thoughts on how we can get Manny out of this slump?"

A live rooster?

Paul said...

Manny has let the dreds hang low after cutting the bands a couple of weeks ago, He needs to lace those bad boys back up.

Hong Like a Chih Kuo said...

"And more importantly, any thoughts on how we can get Manny out of this slump?"

Steroids

Dusty Baker said...

I like the santeria suggestion. Whatever it takes.

karina said...

@Dusty i think i'll light a candle and pray to St. Anthony.