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Could it be? As Hanley Ramirez goes, so go the Dodgers?

In a lineup of stars, could it be that Hanley Ramirez is the key to the Dodgers' offense?
'As Hanley goes ... we kind of go, too,' says Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly

It’s crazy, right?

That the Dodgers’ offense would be centered around one guy? That a lineup loaded with Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier would somehow depend on one player to ignite the offense?

Yet that’s the way it seems, the Dodgers sputtering through the first third of their season with an offense hardly resembling the explosive scoring machine that was anticipated.

While waiting for Hanley Ramirez?

Manager Don Mattingly was pretty blunt about his assessment that Ramirez is what makes the Dodgers’ wheel go round, no matter how many stars shoot out as spokes.

“I think last year we probably saw it as much as anything, as Hanley goes — although Yasiel was a huge part of that last year — we kind of go, too,” Mattingly said. “We’ve gotten Hanley at times, but I don’t think he’s been as consistent as he would like to be.”

It isn’t that Ramirez has been awful. He’s been fine, which just is not what the Dodgers expect. Ramirez is batting .250 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs, the latter two both ranking third on the club.

The Dodgers expect — or at least hope — they would have the Ramirez who looked like the best player in the National League when healthy last season.

But there have only been flashes of that Ramirez this year. He’s been slowed by a sore calf, thumb and hand the first two months. In his last 18 games he’s hit .212, but with three home runs and 12 RBIs.

He went two-for-four Friday in a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates but afterward refused to talk to the media.

“I love you guys, but not today,” Ramirez said.

Mattingly suspects it might not be coincidence that the team, like Ramirez, has struggled to get on a sustained run.

“Hanley’s been up and down, it seems like all year,” Mattingly said. “He’ll look good for a few games. He’s kind of like us as a team.

“And maybe part of the reason we’re like this as a team is that he really hasn’t been able to sustain a run. We haven’t been able to sustain a run either.”

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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