What To Do With Hanley Ramirez

October 18, 2013 at 11:02 am | Posted in 2013 NLCS, Hanley Ramirez | Leave a comment

ramirez_nlcs_game5_grass

Steve Dilbeck thinks the Dodgers should sit him. Ken Gurnick & Chris Haft suggest that dropping him in the order might be a possibility. In practice, the Dodgers are likely to do neither.

What should be done with Hanley Ramirez? At this point, your guess is as good as mine.

What’s clear is that Ramirez is terribly limited by the fractured rib he suffered when Joe Kelly hit him with a pitch in Game 1. Ramirez missed Game 2, came out after 8 innings in a double switch in Game 3, and made it through only six innings in Games 4 and 5. Over the three games in Los Angeles, he collected just two hits — neither hit hard — while striking out three times, and while he hasn’t caused any obvious damage in the field, he’s certainly not looking great out there.

We’ve seen all too often how different this lineup looks without Ramirez in it, but there’s an argument to be made that the Ramirez we know and love isn’t actually in it right now even when he is. Unfortunately, the alternatives are sparse. Nick Punto offers a defensive upgrade, at least; Michael Young absolutely does not, and I’m not even going to talk about Dee Gordon here.

It’s possible, of course, that the day off in between games has Ramirez feeling better headed into tonight. We can’t know that from this perspective, but it also doesn’t seem like a mere day can make a lot of difference there. So what do you do? Do you put him out there hoping that he can get around on Michael Wacha fastballs? Do you drop him in the order, perhaps pushing Yasiel Puig up? Is it perhaps more effective to have him off the bench for a tight spot late, hoping that he’ll be more effective in one plate appearance than he would be trying to gut his way through three or four plus an evening in the field, especially when that might get him up rather than Young inevitably grounding into a double play?

I think he’ll be in the starting lineup, hitting third, because it’s Game 6 of the NLCS and it’s an elimination game, so of course he will. But whether or not that’s the right way to go, well… I’m just not sure.

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