07/31/08 9:21 PM ET
D-backs unfazed by LA adding Manny
Arizona players confident they can contend with Dodgers
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
"At least he's not in the lineup tonight," said Reynolds just before the D-backs opened a four-game series Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
Ramirez is expected to be in attendance Friday night, and his presence will be felt in the National League West race with the first-place D-backs leading Los Angeles by one game in the standings entering the series.
"Having played with Manny, obviously what he brings to the table offensively is special," veteran first baseman Tony Clark said. "I love Manny as a person as well. That being said, the Dodgers were a team we were going to have to compete with down the stretch and that hasn't changed."
Clark's reaction mirrored that of his teammates: Yeah, Ramirez is good, the Dodgers improved themselves, but we'll be fine.
"He's a good player," said co-ace Dan Haren, who faced Ramirez as a member of the A's. "But, you know, I still like our chances. It's a nice bat to put in their lineup, but good pitching always beats good hitting anyways. We've been able to pitch well, they've been able to pitch well. Hopefully we can pitch better than they can. We're two pretty similar teams to begin with, but especially with the way we've been playing lately, I have all the confidence in the world in the guys in the clubhouse."
The D-backs came into the series with the Dodgers having won seven of their past nine games, and their offense has really picked up the pace since a sluggish May, June and early July.
"He's going to go up there and give quality ABs every time, and he makes a quality team that much better," Reynolds said. "I think the way our offense has been swinging lately, I think [GM Josh Byrnes] had the confidence that we'd be all right. Our pitching is one of the best in baseball, and if we can throw up four or five runs, we've got a pretty good shot to win every game. I'm not disappointed at all that we didn't do anything."
The D-backs did make a pair of moves this month, acquiring Clark from the Padres and setup man Jon Rauch from the Nationals.
"I like the addition that we made in adding Jon and I'm sure they like the additions they made with respect to Casey [Blake], who's an outstanding player in his own right, and Manny."
In other words, let the D-backs be the D-backs.
"Obviously it's going to help their lineup, but it's really not a concern of ours," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "I really don't think stuff like that affects us. We've just got to play our game."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.