The Dodgers are simply running out of time to defend their two consecutive National League West titles, and if they don't make a move early on this six-game road trip, Ramirez's days with the Dodgers are believed to be numbered. In a 5-3 win over Milwaukee on Tuesday night, Los Angeles began the road trip with perhaps the start of the streak the team needs to justify keeping Ramirez around, thanks to Barajas.
Acquired via waivers over the weekend from the Mets, Barajas had hits in his first three at-bats and delivered the big blow, a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth. His presence behind the plate gives the Dodgers' offense where they had none since Russell Martin was lost for the season.
"Offensively, he gives us a little more," manager Joe Torre said. "Obviously, I've been very satisfied with the defensive side of the game with our catchers. But we've sort of been limited, even though we've had some contributions offensively. We've been lacking a little bit."
Letting Ramirez go becomes a little harder if the Dodgers can make it two straight wins on Wednesday, when they send Hiroki Kuroda to the hill against former Dodger Randy Wolf.
Kuroda has allowed just three earned runs in his last two starts, but he has a loss and a no-decision to show for it. Kuroda hasn't been the most consistent pitcher this season, but his 8-11 record belies his 3.48 ERA.
Wolf won 11 games and had a 3.23 ERA for Los Angeles last season in 34 starts and hasn't faced his former team this year. He's coming off his longest start of the season, an 8 1/3-inning, one-run, three-hit performance against the Cardinals on Aug. 18.
Casey McGehee has been hot for Milwaukee, with a Major League-leading 25 RBIs in August. He's seven away from the team record for the month, and went 3-for-4 with three extra-base hits and an RBI on Tuesday. He has 82 RBIs on the season.
Dodgers: Kemp goes for 20-20
Matt Kemp's two-run home run in the second inning Tuesday gave him homers in three straight games for the second time this season. He homered in four straight games in April. Kemp is batting .305 against left-handers this season, and with his 17th steal of the season Tuesday as well, he's nearing a second consecutive 20-20 campaign.
Brewers: Hart hopes to start Wednesday
Corey Hart was out of the starting lineup again on Tuesday after tweaking his right hamstring on Friday, and said before the game that he expects to start Wednesday.
He was healthy enough to make it into Tuesday night's game as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning, when he popped out to short with two on and one out. Hart all along has been saying he'd return to the starting lineup "the next day," it just hasn't happened yet.
The Brewers' athletic trainers said he should take a day off. Then another. Monday was an off-day.
"I was surprised, to be honest with you," Hart said. "I came in [Monday], got a good workout, passed all of my tests. But we're playing nine games in a row here and their feeling is that once I'm back in, I'm in. So let's make sure everything is OK. They felt like one more day would help."
The Brewers' outfield gained an extra man on Tuesday, when Carlos Gomez was activated from the disabled list. Gomez had not played since Aug. 3, when he was hit in the head by a pitch during a game at Wrigley Field. He went 1-for-4 with a strikeout Tuesday.
Rickie Weeks' solo home run on Tuesday ended the Dodgers' season-high six-game streak of holding opponents without a home run. ... Milwaukee has not beaten Los Angeles in a season series since 2000, when it won four of seven. ... On Tuesday, Ted Lilly improved to 5-0 in five starts since joining the Dodgers.
Wed, 8/25 8:10 PM ET
Man, oh Manny: Dodgers still alive
Manny Ramirez had two doubles, two walks and the game-winning RBI, while Hiroki Kuroda delivered seven solid innings as the Dodgers beat the Brewers to pull within 5 1/2 games of the NL Wild Card leaders.
|Ramirez, M, LF||2||1||2||1||2||0||0||.313|
|Hart, C, RF||4||1||1||1||0||3||1||.287|
|Escobar, A, SS||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.251|
2B: Loney (34, Wolf), Ramirez, M 2 (15, Wolf, McClendon), Theriot 2 (14, Wolf, McClendon), Blake (22, Wolf).
HR: Ethier (20, 3rd inning off Wolf, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Theriot 4; Ethier 4; Ramirez, M 4; Blake 3; Loney 3; Podsednik.
RBI: Ethier (70), Kemp (72), Loney 2 (74), Ramirez, M (40).
2-out RBI: Loney 2; Ramirez, M.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Kuroda; Barajas; Kemp.
Team RISP: 3-for-10.
Team LOB: 10.
Pickoffs: Kuroda (Cain at 1st base).
2B: Hart, C (26, Kuroda), Braun (33, Kuroda).
TB: Weeks 2; Hart, C 2; Braun 2; Fielder; Cain; Escobar, A.
RBI: Hart, C (79), Braun (75), McGehee (84), Fielder (64).
2-out RBI: Fielder.
Team RISP: 2-for-4.
Team LOB: 1.
SB: Weeks (8, 2nd base off Kuroda/Barajas).
PO: Cain (1st base by Kuroda).
E: McGehee (14, fielding).
Outfield assists: Braun (Ramirez, M at home).
HBP: Barajas (by Wolf).
Pitches-strikes: Kuroda 103-67, Broxton 13-9, Belisario 2-2, Sherrill 6-3, Dotel 2-1, Wolf 107-65, McClendon 25-17, Loe 13-7, Hoffman 17-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Kuroda 7-4, Broxton 1-1, Belisario 1-0, Sherrill 1-0, Dotel 0-0, Wolf 7-2, McClendon 3-1, Loe 2-0, Hoffman 0-1.
Batters faced: Kuroda 26, Broxton 3, Belisario 1, Sherrill 1, Dotel 1, Wolf 26, McClendon 8, Loe 4, Hoffman 4.
Umpires: HP: Andy Fletcher. 1B: Adrian Johnson. 2B: Tim McClelland. 3B: Mike Everitt.
Weather: 72 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 13 mph, Out to CF.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media