June 22, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez (13) runs the bases after a home run during the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers Need to Ride Hanley's Hot Bat

Hanley Ramirez, our very own darling gimpy legged left side infielder with the powerful swing like a stick of dynamite, has begun to heat up on the recently completed road-trip.

Getting poor Hanley back into the lineup has been an exhausting seemingly never-ending experience for the Dodgers. But for now, he appears to be healthy, and productive. So how the hell do the Dodgers keep him that way?

Hanley began the season on the Disabled list after breaking his thumb while diving for a ball during the final game of the World Baseball Classic, while playing for the Dominican team. Hanley wasn’t supposed to return until the end of May, but ended up coming back early, just in time for his bobble-head night.

The Dodgers hiope they continue to See Hanley’s bat for the rest of the season-Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Hanley got three hits on that night, one was a home run, as the Dodgers beat Colorado, and it appeared all was well with our lovable but goofy shortstop. Hanley was only back for a mere three games before he landed back on the disabled list. This time for a strained hamstring he suffered while sliding into third base in a game at San Francisco.

We didn’t see Hanley for a while after that. We all felt cheated by Hanley’s latest disappearing act. Hanley didn’t return until June 4, but was still nursing his sore hamstring. He started out slowly, only collecting two hits in his first 12 at-bats back from the DL. The Dodgers used him sparingly, choosing to sit him on the bench for a few days, and bring him back slowly. But once the Dodgers went back out on the road, Hanley’s bat started to awaken.

Hanley began to blister the ball on this recent road-trip, driving in seven runs in the nine games. Hanley began by going 4 for 4 in the first game of the double-header in New York. In that game Hanley blasted a line drive missile home run, and drove in two runs, unfortunately the Dodgers lost. In the second game, Hanley collected two more hits, and drove in two more runs.

Hanley’s hit parade continued into the San Diego series. In the first game of the four game series, on Thursday, Hanley collected two more hits. Another double, and an RBI on Friday night, and then two home runs one in each game on Saturday and Sunday. Hanley’s solo shot in Saturday’s game was a monstrous shot that landed in the fourth deck, and was measured at over 372 feet, and 118 feet high. The next day, which was yesterday’s game, Hanley hit another home run, this one to the opposite field, which extended the Dodger’s lead to 3-1. The Dodgers won both games on Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon.

All total, Hanley was 12 for 32 on the road-trip which comes out to a .375 average. He had five extra-base hits, three home runs, seven runs driven in, and three multi-hit games. Hanley’s season average is now up to .358, (19 for 53) and he now has four home runs.

The Dodgers need Hanley’s bat in the lineup, and they need him to stay healthy. With Hanley back, the Dodgers now have a legitimate run producer in the lineup. With Matt Kemp still out, the Dodgers are going to have to figure out some way of keeping Hanley healthy. That may involve bubble-wrapping the infielder before game time, and maybe leaving him in said bubble wrap while he plays the field. Or that may involve some kind of voodoo, or Pedro Cerrano’s chicken sacrificing from Major League. I know I have been pretty negative over the last few weeks, but this is a great positive. The Dodgers need to ride Hanley’s hot bat heavily over the next few weeks, if they’re going to want to make up some ground. For the Dodgers to have any chance of that to happen, they must be able to see Hanley’s big bat in the lineup every day.

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