ST. LOUIS (CBSLA.com/AP) — Hanley Ramirez will bat clean-up after all for Los Angeles Dodgers for Game 6 of the NL championship series Friday night after Don Mattingly said earlier in the day that he was only available to pinch hit.
Jon Jay, slumping at the field and at the plate, was not in the St. Louis Cardinals’ batting order against Clayton Kershaw. St. Louis led the best-of-seven series 3-2.
Manager Mike Matheny noted he often loads his lineup with right-handed hitters against difficult lefties. Although the Cardinals were 3-0 in three starts against Kershaw coming in, they were just 19-23 against left-handers.
Kershaw held left-handed hitters to a .165 average in the regular season. He allowed an unearned run over six innings in a 1-0 Game 1 loss.
“It’s no secret how effective Kershaw has been against left-handed hitters and he’s a tough assignment,” Matheny said. “Sometimes you can put another piece in there and hopefully get a little jump.”
Manager Don Mattingly had been optimistic a day earlier that Ramirez would be ready with a day off to heal. Nick Punto was down to bat eighth and play shortstop for the Dodgers.
Mattingly said it was possible Ramirez would be available to pinch hit. He had anticipated Ramirez batting cleanup, but moved Yasiel Puig into that slot.
“I expected he’d be a little better,” Mattingly said. “Maybe with the lack of activity it’s gotten stiffer and tighter. He feels worse today than he did yesterday.”
Shane Robinson got his first start of the postseason in place of Jay, batting seventh and playing center field. Robinson’s pinch homer in Game 4 was his first hit of this postseason and Matheny noted “he plays a plus defense.”
Jay was batting .176 (3 for 17) in the NLCS. He failed to take charge on a catchable fly ball by Mark Ellis and the ball fell in for a double that keyed the Dodgers’ go-ahead rally in Game 3.