It’s for that reason Mattingly is giving Hanley Ramirez, arguably the hottest bat in baseball, a rest Thursday night. The Dodgers have won five straight, but will have to extend that streak without Ramirez in the lineup when they open a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
“I don’t want to do it, but I feel like I need to do it,” Mattingly said.
Ramirez has played nine games in the last eight days and leads the majors with a .485 batting average (16 for 33), 16 hits and 11 runs batted in during that span. He struck four homers, at least one hit in all nine games and multiple hits in five of them.
Mattingly said Ramirez tried to fight the decision when he informed him Wednesday, but as much as the hot streak made the decision to rest him harder in some respects, it made it easier in others.
“It’s harder to do it because he’s going so good, but it also makes you realize what it would be like if he’s not playing,” Mattingly said.
Ramirez will be available off the bench, and with the way he’s swinging, it’s more than likely Mattingly calls his number if a late-game situation arises.
“He’s feeling good and I just want to keep it that way knowing that we need to keep him in the lineup,” Mattingly said. “... It’s really just trying to preserve Hanley for the long run.”