Hanley Ramirez has missed over 50 games this season between a broken thumb and a hamstring issue, but the 34 games he’s be in the lineup, he’s has made a huge impact.
The Dodgers are 14-3 in their last 17 games and have seen their deficit in the NL West cut to just 2.5 games as they finish a nine-game road trip tonight in Arizona. Ramirez saw his 19-game hitting streak last night come to an end, but was still hitting the ball right on the nose.
Speaking to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, Clayton Kershaw commented on Hanley’s surge:
“Hanley’s even better than (Puig), in my opinion,” Kershaw says. “He’s playing good defense at shortstop. And he’s hitting the ball harder than I’ve seen anyone hit the ball. It’s comparable to Manny (Ramirez) when Manny was here.”
Ramirez was acquired last season from the Miami Marlins in exchange for pitcher Nate Eovaldi and the Dodgers agreed to pay all of his remaining salary.
In his last two seasons with the Marlins, Ramirez saw his batting average drop from at least .300 to .243 and .246 and several people believed he’d quit on the team.
Earlier in the season, the Dodgers needed that extra bat in the middle of the lineup as Matt Kemp was hurt to go along with Andre Ethier’s slow start.
Speaking to Rosenthal, hitting coach Mark McGwire applauded Ramirez’s swing at the moment:
“I tell him all the time in the cage, ‘You are a perfect example of how to hit a baseball.’ His downward plane, his hands through the baseball, his extension — that’s how you backspin a baseball.”
Ramirez and Yasiel Puig have electrified the Dodgers offense and are the first pair of teammates to be hitting over .400 with at least 100 at-bats.
Puig is getting a lot of the credit for the Dodgers resurgence and deservedly so, but let’s not forget that Ramirez is usually the one driving him in.