Dodger shortstop Hanley Ramirez is in today’s starting lineup for Game 5 of the National League Championship Series despite a broken rib.
Los Angeles needs all the offense it can find after scoring only seven runs in the first four games.
Ramirez, who was plunked in the ribs by St. Louis pitcher Joe Kelly in Game 1, suffered a hairline fracture in the eighth rib on his left side. He did not play in Game 2 at St. Louis, a 1-0 Dodger loss.
When the series moved to Los Angeles, Ramirez somehow shrugged off the pain and played in Game 3, recording two hits and a run batted in before being removed in the top of the ninth.
Though he was in the starting lineup again for yesterday’s contest, the pain became too much by the top of the seventh and he exited in favor of Nick Punto.
In his last at bat, Ramirez could do nothing but watch as Lance Lynn fired three fastballs by him.
“The last at bat, he ends up taking three fastballs, so that's not really exploiting Hanley,” Dodger manager Don Mattingly said. “It kind of tells me more that he was afraid to pull the trigger last night. He's saying today he feels better than yesterday. He wants to go.”
Does Mattingly have concerns about starting a player who quite possibly is unable to swing the bat?
“I feel like he's the best option,” Mattingly said. “If Hanley's going to be ready to swing the bat ‑‑ we've seen it the first day, ends up throwing two hits out there – he can help us. He knows what he's doing; and if he's capable of swinging the bat today, then he's our best option. “
The Dodgers need all hands on deck in the Game 1 rematch of starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Joe Kelly. An able Ramirez could provide Los Angeles with the lift they need. In the NLDS against the Braves, he tied a Divisional Series record with six extra base hits.
If the Dodgers win, Ramirez will have the benefit of an off day Thursday before Game 6 on Friday.
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