LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers’ offense is struggling, and they might have to face St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright today without their top hitter in Game 3 of the NL championship series.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez had a CT scan on his painful left ribs Sunday, and the results weren’t available by mid-afternoon. He got hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly in the opener, but stayed in to play all 13 innings of a 3-2 loss Friday.
Ramirez was a late scratch for Game 2, a 1-0 defeat that left Los Angeles trailing the Cardinals 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.
He rested Sunday, along with the rest of the team, which didn’t hit on the field.
“We’re just working on that, taking the pain away so I can go,” Ramirez said. “Even if it’s cracked or something, I’m going to be able to get out there if we can take the pain away. It feels the same, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to remain positive for tomorrow.”
Ramirez had a .638 slugging percentage during the regular season, and the Dodgers desperately need an offensive boost to get back into the best-of-seven series. They batted .184 in the first two games on the road, including 1-for-16 (.063) with runners in scoring position.
“We’ve talked about it. It always comes back to, can you get that key out and can you get the key hit?” manager Don Mattingly said. “It doesn’t get any easier for us with Wainwright. He seems like he’s always coming up big.”
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier didn’t start Saturday, but he appeared as a pinch-hitter and ended the game with a strikeout. He’s been bothered by shin splints, although he made his first start since Sept. 13 in the series opener.
“It’s definitely a thing where we need all the hands we can to find a way to get back in the series,” Ethier said.
Wainwright predicted both Ramirez and Ethier would play.
“He looks the best I’ve seen him in a long time,” Wainwright said of Ramirez. “His swing looks great. His approach is awesome. As everyone knows, he’s got power to all fields. So, he’s a very dangerous hitter and a very tough bat added to that lineup.”
Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig has yet to make an impact in the series. Hitting cleanup in place of Ramirez, Puig struck out four times Saturday, dropping to 0-for-10 with six strikeouts in the series.
“He is a positive kid and he told me, ‘I’m going to get it tomorrow,”’ Ramirez said. “Tomorrow he’s going to come and get ready to play and he’s going to do some damage.”
The lack of offense and injuries to key players recalls the early season version of the Dodgers, when they were mired in the NL West cellar and were 12 games under .500. Then Puig arrived in early June and sparked their revival.
The Dodgers couldn’t capitalize on stellar outings by Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw on the road and now must rely on rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu, who stumbled against Atlanta in losing his playoff debut in the division series. He allowed four runs and six hits in three innings, and made two major mistakes in the field.
Move over, Koufax: The 12 strikeouts by Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez in the AL championship series opener Saturday night were the most by a pitcher before he allowed a hit in a postseason game, according to the Tigers, who cited the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous record was held by Sandy Koufax, who struck out 10 Yankees before Elston Howard hit a two-out single in the fifth inning the first game of the 1963 World Series.
Sanchez’s four strikeouts in the first inning – the extra came thanks to a third-strike wild pitch to Shane Victorino – made him the second pitcher to fan four in an inning. Detroit’s Ty Cobb was one of four batters struck out by Orval Overall of the 1908 Chicago Cubs in the first inning of Game 5 of the World Series.
Detroit’s 1-0 victory was the first time the Red Sox had been shut out at home in the postseason since the Cubs’ Hippo Vaughn beat Sad Sam Jones 3-0 in Game 5 of the 1918 World Series. It was the sixth time in all that Boston had been shut out in the postseason.
The one hit – Daniel Nava’s ninth-inning single – was a low for the Red Sox in 157 postseason games. The 17 strikeouts for Red Sox batters tied the postseason record for a nine-inning game, set when St. Louis’ Bob Gibson fanned 17 Tigers batters in the 1968 World Series opener and matched by Houston in the first game of the 1998 NL division series against San Diego.