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Original Issue

Three Strikes

SI's senior baseball writer takes you further inside the game. This is just a sample of what you'll get online.

1 Instead of booing Manny Ramirez, Red Sox Nation should remember that Ramirez (below) gave Boston fans excitement on a nightly basis and memories to last a baseball fan's lifetime. In the epic eight-game postseason winning streak of 2004, Ramirez hit .371 and was named World Series MVP. When the Sox won again in '07, he hit .348 in the postseason.

2 What on earth is wrong with Chase Utley? The Phillies' All-Star second baseman is hitting .210 over his last 27 games with one home run and a .310 slugging percentage in 100 at bats.

3 The Pirates were so proud to have added a year to the contract of G.M. Neal Huntington and to have picked up the option year on the contract of manager John Russell that they chose not to tell anybody for nine months. President Frank Coonelly said he made the moves last October, believing the team was better off keeping them secret. So when and how does he announce the good news? Last Thursday during a 12-game losing streak, in response to a report that Russell's job is in jeopardy.