Ramirez joined the Dodgers on Wednesday, when the organization's new ownership completed a deal that brought Ramirez and Randy Choate to Los Angeles in exchange for top young pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and pitching prospect Scott McGough. Ramirez gives the Dodgers a big bat in the middle of the lineup to add protection for Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
"The addition of a hitter the caliber of Hanley Ramirez improves our lineup from top to bottom, inserting a proven run producer to go along with Matt and Andre," general manager Ned Colletti said. "We're excited for Hanley to begin a new chapter in Los Angeles."
While it is still to be determined whether Colletti and the Dodgers pull off another move and bring in a player like Ryan Dempster, the trade of Ramirez signifies how important winning immediately is to the new ownership. With Dee Gordon on the disabled list and the Dodgers lacking any offense from third base, the addition of Ramirez was one that was needed. Manager Don Mattingly plans to use him at short.
This marks the biggest in-season trade by the Dodgers since Los Angeles acquired Manny Ramirez in 2008. That Ramirez hit .415 with seven doubles, nine homers, 25 RBIs and 21 runs in his first month with the Dodgers and the team is hoping for that same sort of jolt to the offense with its newest Ramirez.
For the Cardinals, who are also fighting for a playoff spot, the addition of Ramirez by the Dodgers only means the competition got that much tougher. The team made a move of its own, albeit much less flashy.
St. Louis brought up reliever Brian Fuentes to give the team three lefties in the bullpen.
"We'll see how Fuentes fits in," manager Mike Matheny said. "It'll be a challenge with three lefties down there."
"I just felt like the back end of the bullpen seemed like it was one guy short," Fuentes said. "They have a few young guys that are a little inexperienced, good arms but just lacked that little bit of experience."
Cardinals: Westbrook proves to be durable
With Kyle Lohse throwing seven innings Wednesday, St. Louis starters have now gone 20 straight starts throwing at least six innings. Jake Westbrook on the mound Thursday likely means that streak will continue.
Westbrook has gone at least six innings in eight straight starts and he is coming off a seven-inning scoreless outing in his last start. That victory brought Westbrook's ERA down to 3.60, which is the lowest it has been since May 24.
The starter didn't fare so great in his last start against the Dodgers thanks to poor defense. On May 19, he went 6 1/3 innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits. The Cards made two costly errors that hurt Westbrook's cause.
Dodgers: Capuano remains consistent, reliable
While the Dodgers' new ownership works diligently to find a starting pitcher to insert into the rotation, one of the final players brought in by the old ownership continues to prove his worth.
Chris Capuano takes the mound on Thursday to face the Cardinals for the first time since last September when he lasted only 4 2/3 innings after giving up four runs on eight hits with the New York Mets. But the Capuano this year in Dodger Blue is a different pitcher.
"It's hard to say I expected 10 wins right after the break," Mattingly said after Capuano's last start. "But if you don't have experienced guys, he'll spin you in circles. Young teams have trouble with him, and this year he's giving everybody trouble."
Capuano is 10-5 with a 2.81 ERA in his first season with the Dodgers. He has only one victory in his past five starts, but he continues to pitch well. He defeated the Mets his last time out and he has given up only three earned runs in 13 2/3 innings since the All-Star break.
In 18 career games at Dodger Stadium, Ramirez is batting .388 (26-for-67) with three home runs and a .468 on-base percentage.