The last time the Red Sox played the Yankees without Manny Ramirez on the roster, Troy O'Leary was playing leftfield for the Sox. Translation...it was the year 2000.
Amidst a tight wild card race and clinging on to hopes of catching the Tampa Rays, the Sox enter Yankee Stadium Manny-less. Without one of the best righthanded hitters to ever live, the Sox have kept their heads above water. But, they haven't played the Yankees. And, Manny owns the Yankees. Ramirez has hit .321 with 55 homeruns and 163 RBIs against the pinstripes over the course of his career. If you check his numbers over the past few years, they get even better. This is not to mention the impact he has had on David Ortiz's success against the Yanks.
At the end of Manny's tenure with the Sox, he acted like a little brat. He whined. And when his whining wasn't being heard, he stamped his feet and whined some more until it pissed off his teammates. The Sox brass was left with no other option but to trade him.
But, why did it have to happen this way? I fear the worst for the 2008 Sox. Even if they can find their way into the playoffs, they'll need to face the best pitching in the American League without the American League's best hitter. Manny critics, who claimed that his numbers had fallen off in recent years, failed to recognize that Manny can hit the best pitching. When you're trying to win a World Series, it all comes down to who has the best pitching and who can get clutch hits off of the best pitching. Newsflash...Ramirez has the most postseason homeruns in baseball history! That's six more than Mickey Mantle, and 24 more than Jason Bay.
This midweek series in New York could be a great indication as to how the Sox will play the rest of the way. And, it doesn't help that it will probably be Yankee fans' last chance to torment the Sox in the House that Ruth Built. As much as Sox fans want Manny to fail in L.A., I doubt a Dodgers' collapse will be consolation enough for a playoff-less season.