LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers try to extend their season on Wednesday, and will do so with Hanley Ramirez in the starting lineup against the Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.
"Everybody knows the importance of the game," said manager Don Mattingly. "He wants to be a part of it, he thinks he can do something for us, so he's in there."
Ramirez exited after six innings in Game 4 Tuesday night, in obvious pain with a hairline rib fracture. He was wincing in pain both while at the plate and in the field, and was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. He had to sit down to conduct postgame interviews at his locker after the game.
"In BP he was swinging really good then I saw him take a swing late and grab his side. I'm not sure if something happened in BP to irritate it and set it off. Hopefully it calmed down overnight," Mattingly said. "He got treatment, I'm sure he'll take something before the game to take the edge off, the pain."
Nick Punto, who started at shortstop for the Dodgers in Game 2 and 33 times during the regular season, is 4-for-5 (.800) with a double and a walk against Cardinals starter Joe Kelly. Ramirez is 2-for-8 with a double against Kelly, and one fateful hit by pitch in Game 1 of the NLCS.
Ramirez since getting hit in the ribs is 2-for-9 (.222) with three walks and four strikeouts.
"I feel like he's the best option. He really knows what he's doing," Mattingly said. "If Hanley's going to be capable of swinging the bat today, he's our best option."
Game 5 info
Time: 1:07 p.m.