LOS ANGELES (AP/CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be practically unstoppable, and now they may be getting one of their top hitters back.
Baseball’s hottest team will get Hanley Ramirez back Wednesday night when the Dodgers seek an eighth straight win and a three-game sweep of the New York Mets.
Los Angeles (69-50) is on a staggering 39-8 run, going from the NL West cellar to a 7 1/2-game lead on second-place Arizona.
The remarkable turnaround has showed few signs of waning with the Dodgers winning seven straight, their longest streak since a nine-game run May 9-18, 2010.
“The Dodgers are having a lot of fun right now,” Los Angeles’ Nick Punto said.
Ramirez’s return may only add to the enjoyment.
A sore right shoulder has keep the shortstop out of the lineup for eight of the past nine games. He’s hitting .359 with 11 homers and 37 RBIs in 56 games, but he’s mustered only a .122 average over his last 11 meetings with the Mets (54-63).
“I feel like there are no issues at this point,” manager Don Mattingly told the team’s official website.
It’s unclear how Ramirez’s return will impact Punto, who is 11 for 24 (.458) with four doubles and eight RBIs over the past nine games, starting seven at short.
Punto had an RBI double in Tuesday’s 4-2 victory, a day after hitting a solo homer in a victory by the same score.
He’s capable of playing third and second, but Juan Uribe is 8 for 17 in five games and Mark Ellis is 10 for 22 in his last five games.
The Dodgers have won eight of nine against New York, which hasn’t been swept at Chavez Ravine since May 18-20, 2009.
“You’ve got to play a perfect game to beat them right now, and we’re not doing that,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Los Angeles looks to win for the sixth consecutive time with Chris Capuano (4-6, 4.50 ERA) on the mound. He’s 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA over that stretch, holding opponents scoreless three times in that span.
That wasn’t the case Friday, however, when the left-hander gave up six runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-6 come-from-behind win over Tampa Bay.
Capuano, who spent 2011 with the Mets, is 1-5 with a 5.53 ERA in seven starts against them.
New York counters with Dillon Gee (8-8, 3.82), who has a 1.53 ERA over his last five starts. However, he just 2-1 in those games while receiving one or two runs of support in his past four outings.
Gee, though, didn’t need much help from his offense Thursday, yielding one run and scattering eight hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 2-1 win over Colorado.
“Dillon Gee is a prototypical pitcher,” manager Terry Collins said. “He’s got four quality major league pitches and when he’s using all four he’s tough to hit because he has the knack to throw those pitches at any time.”
Gee hasn’t fared well at Dodger Stadium, losing both starts while allowing 10 runs in 11 2-3 innings.
New York’s Wilmer Flores may be headed to the disabled list after sitting out Tuesday with an injured right ankle. The rookie third baseman has been a pleasant surprise filling in for David Wright (hamstring), collecting nine RBIs in seven games.