ST. LOUIS (AP) — Hanley Ramirez was a late addition to the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup, batting cleanup for Game 6 of the NL championship series Friday night.
Manager Don Mattingly said in his pregame news conference that there was a slight chance Ramirez could start, and the change was announced less than a half-hour before the first pitch. Ramirez has been hindered by a rib injury he sustained when he was hit by a pitch in the series opener.
Just before the announcement, Ramirez was on the field playing catch. He entered with a .167 average in the NLCS. Mattingly's original lineup had Nick Punto playing shortstop and batting eighth and Yasiel Puig batting cleanup. Puig moved to sixth in the revised lineup, while Juan Uribe and A.J. Ellis each moved down one spot to seventh and eighth.
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."
"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.