Several media outlets have been reporting that Giants All-star outfielder Melky Cabrera has been suspended 50 games by MLB for testing positive for a banned substance (testosterone).

In a statement released by the player’s union, Cabrera said “My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used. I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and I will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down.”

Cabrera leads all of MLB in hits with 159 and is second in MLB with a .346 average, so needless to say, the Giants will sorely miss his bat in their lineup.

What does all this mean to the Dodgers and Giants, who are buckled in for quite the NL West race down the stretch? With tonight’s Dodger win and Giant loss, the Boys in Blue now hold a 1.0 game lead over San Francisco. They will meet each other nine more times this season, including 3 at Dodger Stadium on Monday when the Dodgers return home from their road trip. L.A. and San Francisco will also play the final three games of the season at Dodger Stadium, as well.

There are 45 games left in the season for San Francisco, meaning Cabrera is done for the rest of the year. The Dodgers greatly improved their offense with the acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino at the trade deadline and are currently 5-1 in the midst of a 10-game road trip. The Giants have now lost one of their most consistent bats in the lineup, and he’s not coming back.

The Giants team morale has to be low after this. They’ve been outscored 20-10 in their three-game series against the National League leading Washington Nationals. Cabrera is also the second Giant to be suspended for performance-enhancing drugs this season. Relief pitcher Guillermo Mota received a 100-game suspension back in May for violating MLB’s drug policy for a second time.

For all of the Giants vaunted pitching, the Dodgers actually have a better team ERA than the Giants (3.32 vs. 3.64), and have more quality starts from their starting pitchers (74 vs. 73). With the Dodgers offense beginning to click on all cylinders and Chad Billingsley re-emerging as a dominant starter alongside Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers look poised to take the NL West.

The Boys in Blue are averaging 5.8 runs a game in the first five games of their 10-game road trip. Tim Lincecum‘s struggles continue as he surrendered four earned runs to the Nats on Wednesday afternoon, and the Giants wound up losing 6-4 to the Nationals earlier today.

Clayton Kershaw took the mound for the Dodgers earlier today going, and shut the Pirates down, earning his 11th win of the season, and a fourth straight for the Dodgers.

One never wants to see the taint of steroids and performance enhancers on the game we love, but if this cloud has a silver lining, it’s a good one for L.A. One up for the Dodgers, one down for Melky Cabrera and the Giants.

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