Not gone in Boston, McCarver said, but he gives Ramirez his complete due for what he's done in L.A.
"A rejuvenated Manny, I think it would be fair to say," McCarver said, sitting in the Phillies dugout yesterday. "More than old Manny. Manny's doing things that even Manny doesn't do, [like] scoring on a double to right field from first base."
McCarver laughed and asked which knee was it that was hurting?
"It's a wonderful story in many, many ways, and from Boston's standpoint, it's a horrible story, I would imagine, because he could be doing that for Boston," McCarver said.
McCarver said Phillies starters should not go into the series with the idea of automatically pitching around Ramirez, who had 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in 187 at-bats, with a .489 on-base percentage after joining the Dodgers on Aug. 1.
"There are going to be clearly times when you're not going to pitch to Manny, with a man on second, a tie game in the eighth inning, obviously," McCarver said. "But to go into it, from a starting pitcher's standpoint, and tell a starting pitcher, 'You can't let this guy beat you.' They'll figure it out. I don't think you go into the series with the idea that you can't let Manny Ramirez beat you. I think that's nonsense."
McCarver said base-running could be a key factor. The Phillies and Dodgers were among the top four teams in the National League in stolen bases.
"To the viewing public, it would be a bonanza if both teams continue to play like they've been playing," McCarver said. "Then you really have the clash of titans, two hot teams, two good teams."
He recommends that Phillies fans not forget the importance of shortstop Rafael Furcal being back in the Dodgers' lineup. He didn't play when the Phillies faced them in August.
He also believes Ramirez presents fans here a scenario they are most familiar with.
"Every sport, there have been people who have held organizations hostage, whether it be Terrell Owens or Randy Moss or Manny Ramirez," McCarver said.
Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or email@example.com.