LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers’ offense is struggling, and they might have to face St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright 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 midafternoon. He was hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly in the opener but still played 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 and the rest of the team rested Sunday.
“We’re just working on that, taking the pain away so I can go,” he 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.”
Ramirez had a .638 slugging percentage during the regular season, and the Dodgers 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.
“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.”
Though Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier didn’t start Saturday, he appeared as a pinch-hitter and ended the game with a strikeout. He’s been bothered by shin splints.
“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, he struck out four times Saturday, dropping to 0 for 10 with six strikeouts in the series.
Ramirez predicted: “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 Dodgers’ early season, when they were mired in the NL West cellar and were 12 games under .500. Puig’s early June arrival sparked their revival.
The Dodgers couldn’t capitalize on Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw on the road and must rely on rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu, who stumbled against Atlanta in the division series. He allowed four runs and six hits in three innings and made two major mistakes in the field.
Ryu said through a translator that he felt strong.
Wainwright last pitched against Los Angeles in the postseason in the 2009 NL division series, allowing one earned run in eight innings of a no-decision. He left leading 2-1 before the Dodgers scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to win.
“I know it’s going to be rocking tomorrow,” Wainwright said. “The louder the better. That plays right into my hands.”
The Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny said his team’s mentality is still the same.
“We’ve had some brutal losses, and the guys came back the next day like it never happened. We’ve had some exciting wins, and we’ve come back the next day with a lot of hunger,” he said. “That’s what we continue to preach.”
Three times the Dodgers trailed 2-0 in the World Series, most recently against the New York Yankees in 1981, and rallied to win titles each time.
“This team has been counted out a lot of times this year,” Ethier said. “We figured out a way to get it done. We definitely have it in ourselves. We’ve proved that.”