In Thursday's Dodgers game against the Rockies, Hanley Ramirez went 0-2, but reached base three times via walk, two of which were intentional.
Intentional walks are no fun to watch when your team has a player simply destroying baseballs, and each one aroused the fans for a round of boos. But taking the bat out of Hanley Ramirez's hands may be the only way to handle the Dodger shortstop.
In July alone, he is hitting over .400, so when Ramirez came up to bat against the Rockies in the third inning of a one-run game, with Mark Ellis on third base, they walked him intentionally. This put the pressure on Scott Van Slyke to come up with the big hit, but he simply grounded out.
Again in the eighth inning, as the Dodgers started to pull away with a 6-0 lead, Ramirez came up to bat with two outs and Mark Ellis on third base. Colorado chose to intentionally walk him again, and Scott Van Slyke followed with a strikeout.
On Friday Don Mattingly was not surprised at the idea that teams might start walking the red-hot Ramirez, "its not going to stop either, as long as he is swinging the bat like this its not going to stop."
In recent weeks Mattingly has been comparing Hanley Ramirez to the superstar and ex-Dodger Manny Ramirez for his "early recognition skills" and ability to pick up pitches right out of the pitcher's hand, "you see him quit on balls quick when he's locked in, he's not swinging at stuff out of the strike zone."
If this is going to be the treatment Ramirez receives with his hot bat the Dodgers are going to need to rely on offense from somewhere else. Mattingly is well aware though, "we are going to have to be productive around him, and thats going to be a big key."
Whether or not getting pitches to hit is going to be a problem for Ramirez will be seen over time. Andre Ethier was slotted behind Ramirez on Friday, but the Dodgers were never threatened to score as they only had four hits in the game.
There are two games left before the All-Star Break, and if Hanley returns from the break hitting hot we can expect to see the walks keep coming in.