The 2013 season for the Los Angeles Dodgers up until two weeks ago was a complete disaster as far as success goes. Heading into the weekend of June 22nd the team was a season high 9.5 games behind the first place Arizona Diamondbacks. Something had to change with the team 11 games under .500 with a team full of ailing superstars.
Something did change and it started on June 19th during a doubleheader with the New York Yankees. The team finally started getting consistent hitting other than Adrian Gonzalez. That consistency has come mostly in the form of Hanley Ramirez.
Below is what Ramirez has done during the team’s last fifteen games:
Ramirez has not put a string of games together like this in his career at any point. It couldn’t have come at a better time either.
With the attention over the last month on Yasiel Puig and his unbelievable numbers it’s easy to say that Puig has turned the team around and he has. However, until Ramirez started this hot streak the Dodgers had a record of only 6-7 with Puig.
The team is now 11-4 behind their start shortstop and have climbed into a second place tie with the Colorado Rockies only 2.5 games out of first place in the National League West.
Ramirez has done the unthinkable and actually overshadowed the rookie to give the Dodgers what they’ve been missing in the middle of the order. Even with Puig getting on base at such a high clip (.466) there was nobody driving him in.
Puig had scored seven runs before June 19th and four of those were from his own doing with a home run. Since June 19th Puig has scored 15 runs even with getting on base a little less in that time frame.
Ramirez recently told reporters that he hasn’t felt this good at the plate since he was the batting champ while with the Florida Marlins (Now Miami) in 2009. That is the year he hit .342 which is his career high and has only touched .300 once since then.
During parts of the last three seasons there has been a bad reputation built of Ramirez that he had attitude with his manager, a bad teammate, and an underperforming talent. The Dodgers took a chance that he was still worth his big contract and it is starting to pay off as he has disproved his bad reputation.
Injuries played a big part in his regression over the last couple years most notably with a shoulder that he had surgery on following the 2010 season. He would only play in 92 games in 2011 and has only hit a combined .252 between the last two seasons.
This may serve as a good example for management’s faith that Matt Kemp will once again regain his form after a shoulder surgery of his own.
Although it’s obvious that Ramirez won’t continue to hit .500 the rest of the season, the team is going to rely on his bat in the middle of the lineup if they are to compete for the playoffs. The Dodgers need him to be the MVP candidate he was in South Florida during the first five seasons of his career with Kemp not producing.
Winning 10 of the last 11 games the team has shown just how dangerous the offense can be when the big bats are working. Ramirez has shown how he can still put a team’s offense on his back and make a big difference.
If the Dodgers can keep their guys healthy they will be a force to be reckoned with as the season pushes further into summer.