NLCS Game 3: The Return of RoboHanley

October 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Posted in 2013 NLCS, Game Threads | Leave a comment

dodger_stadium_2013_150x150Hanley Ramirez lives! ….sort of! As we’d worried, he does indeed have a fractured rib, but he will be in the lineup tonight. It’s okay though: it only “causes Ramirez pain when he swings a bat,” reports Ken Gurnick, and it’s not like that’s a big part of his job description. (Gurnick goes on to add that Ramirez has a Kevlar vest and took painkillers to get onto the field. I’d like to get into a whole discussion of the hilariously gray line between what makes taking those okay and something like HGH not, but, another time.)

It’s going to be more than a little interesting to see what Ramirez is able to provide, given his physical condition. But I think we can all agree that even a diminished Ramirez is worth trotting out over Nick Punto, so long as Hanley can at least field his position. Something else to keep an eye on — if they’re smart, the Cardinals are going to bust him inside, early. No, not throw at him — which even Don Mattingly doesn’t believe Joe Kelly was trying to do, despite the insistence of some fans to the contrary — but just inside to get him thinking about. It’s the smart move.

Cardinals
Dodgers
2B
Carpenter
LF
Crawford
RF
Beltran
2B
M.Ellis
LF
Holliday
SS
Ramirez
C
Molina
1B
Gonzalez
3B
Freese
CF
Ethier
1B
Adams
RF
Puig
CF
Jay
3B
Uribe
SS
Kozma
C
A.Ellis
P
Wainwright
P
Ryu

Ramirez isn’t the only one back, because Andre Ethier returns to play center, even though reports on how his ankle is holding up aren’t exactly stellar. His inclusion leads to what is really an odd Dodger lineup, actually.

Even with both Ramirez and Ethier in the lineup, Mark Ellis is still hitting second. That’s not odd, it’s just dumb; Ellis can’t hit righty pitching, and he’s especially had no luck against Wainwright. Ethier actually has (.303/.361/.667 with three homers in 36 plate appearances), so I get putting him fifth, but that pushes Juan Uribe down to seventh.

I know, I know: lineup construction doesn’t usually matter that much. But it’s a general fact that Ellis is not a good enough hitter to be getting more at-bats than anyone other than Carl Crawford, and his presence only allows Mattingly to call for the inevitable sacrifice bunt that will take the bat out of Ramirez’ hands.

But really, it’s not going to matter who is hitting where if the bats can’t wake up and solve Wainwright, and if Hyun-jin Ryu doesn’t manage to solve his first-inning woes. It’s not a stretch to say that this is a must-win game if the Dodgers are going to have a chance to pull this off, so the time for action is now. Let’s get to it.

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