LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers’ offense is struggling, and they might have to face St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright without one of their top hitters in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez had a CT scan on his painful left ribs Sunday. He got hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly in the opener but stayed in to play 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 rested Sunday, along with the rest of the team, which didn’t hit on the field.
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“We’re just working on that, taking the pain away so I can go,” Ramirez 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.
“It feels the same, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to remain positive for tomorrow.”
Ramirez had a .638 slugging percentage during the regular season, and the Dodgers desperately need an offensive boost. They batted .184 in the first two games on the road, including 1 for 16 (.063) with runners in scoring position.
“We’ve talked about it. It always comes back to, can you get that key out and can you get the key hit?” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
“It doesn’t get any easier for us with Wainwright. He seems like he’s always coming up big.”
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier didn’t start Saturday, but he appeared as a pinch-hitter and ended the game with a strikeout. He has been bothered by shin splints, although he made his first start since Sept. 13 in the series opener.
“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 in Monday’s Game 3 in Los Angeles.
“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, Puig struck out four times Saturday, dropping to 0 for 10 with six strikeouts in the NLCS.
“He is a positive kid and he told me, ‘I’m going to get it tomorrow,’ ” Ramirez said. “Tomorrow he’s going to come and get ready to play and he’s going to do some damage.”
The Dodgers couldn’t capitalize on stellar outings by Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw on the road and now must rely on rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu, who allowed four runs in three innings against Atlanta in his playoff debut in the division series.
“I feel really strong,” Ryu said through a Korean translator. “There is no reason my arm isn’t in good, top shape right now.”