What Melky Cabrera's Positive Test Means for the Dodgers

“Holy CENSORED!” That was my reaction upon seeing this tweet earlier today about San Francisco Giants’ left-fielder Melky Cabrera being suspended for the remainder of the regular season (plus five games) for testing positive for testosterone.

“Holy mother CENSORED!” That was my reaction upon hearing that Cabrera had straight up admitted to taking a banned substance and would not appeal the suspension.

“SWEET SON OF A CENSOREDCENSOREDCENSORED!” That was my reaction upon realizing that the Giants’ most consistent offensive weapon was no longer in the lineup. And wouldn’t be, for the rest of the 2012 regular season.

We see you, Giants. We see you.

I am, after all, a loyal Dodger fan. So does Melky’s suspension mean the Dodgers are now toast of the NL West? Top of the class? Cream of the crop? Any other cliche to indicate superiority in a division?

In the context of pure talent and postseason possibilities, yes. The Dodgers are now the odds-on favorites to win the division and advance to the playoffs. That being said, I’m nowhere near comfortable “handing the division to the Dodgers,” as many fans seem to want to do (dejected Giants fans included).

First of all, the Giants are still a very solid team. They have a ridiculously good starting rotation, and if Tim Lincecum ever clicks into gear, it spells real trouble. With Buster Posey playing out of his mind since the All-Star Break, consistent production from Pablo Sandoval when healthy, and scary potential and experience in Hunter Pence, there is still a solid 3-4-5 in the lineup.

Those three back-to-back-to-back don’t quite instill the fear that a Dodger threesome of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez do, but it’s not as big a difference as you might think.

Anyway, the point is that the Giants are nowhere near finished. Even if the Dodgers start to pull away in the West, the Giants could keep a stranglehold on one of the two Wild Card spots and sneak in to the one-game playoff.

Do you really want to face Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner twice each in a best-of-7 game series?

Let’s just leave it at this – the 2012 version of the Giants, even without Cabrera, is undeniably more talented than their 2010 roster. And we all know what a good hot streak and a couple bad pitches from Roy Halladay led to that year.

Don’t get me wrong. In no way am I defending Cabrera or his team. I fully expect the Dodgers to take the rivalry by the throat and choke their way to a division crown. I just don’t want anyone getting complacent.

If all indications are true, Don Mattingly would never let that happen. But you never know. Crazier things have happened.

Amid all the drama today, the Dodgers have a golden opportunity. The Giants are down right now after losing their best all-around hitter and two of three games at home to the Washington Nationals. Leg, operate. A swift kick to the stomach is what we need to inflict upon our fallen rivals. 

Now is the time to stick it to the Giants and the rest of the West and pull away. Cabrera’s selfishness has given our Dodgers the chance of a lifetime to make a mockery of this division race. Winning the first three (not to mention five of the first six on the road trip overall) games in Pittsburgh is a great place to stop.

But as @NotHawk tweets whenever the White Sox begin to score runs,”DON’T STOP NOW, BOYS!”

Don’t stop. Take advantage of the situation. Cabrera’s positive test means the door has been kicked open for your newly minted (again) NL West leaders.

Time to charge through that door and create a little mayhem.

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman.

Tags: Dodgers

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