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Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Ramirez, Gonzalez: the good and the bad

By Marty Callinan, ESPN Stats & Information

Despite losing five of their last six and scoring just 2.3 runs per game over their last 11, the Dodgers remain one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Wild Card chase.

They are where they are in part because one recently-acquired slugger has struggled while another has thrived:

Adrian Gonzalez

Since going 1-for-5 with a 3-run home run in his first game as a Dodger, Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .230 with a .311 slugging percentage and no home runs. The average ranks 137th while the slugging percentage is 155th among qualified MLB batters in that time. Five pitchers have a home run since Gonzalez’s Dodger debut.

The biggest issue for Gonzalez has been hitting right-handed pitching. Gonzalez, a career .300 hitter against righties, is batting .100 against right-handed pitchers since Aug. 25. He does not have a hit in 11 of those at-bats ending with an off-speed pitch.

Despite the issue of hitting a few off-speed pitches, some of Gonzalez’s peripheral numbers against righties suggest it is only a matter of time before he returns to form. Gonzalez has been a unlucky on balls in play and more patient overall as a Dodger, despite the poor results.

Nine hits in his last eight games suggest Gonzalez is already starting to get back on track.

Hanley Ramirez

Unlike Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez has been a much better hitter since switching coasts. Ramirez was hitting .246/.322/.428 with 14 home runs in 93 games as a Marlin up to July 24. He is hitting .266/.326/.503 with 10 home runs in 44 games as a Dodger.

Ramirez has seen his greatest improvement in both the power and average departments when hitting balls between dead center and the right field line. In Miami, 35.7 percent of Ramirez’s balls in play went to dead center right. Ramirez batted a solid .317 with a .460 slugging percentage while hitting two home runs in 126 at-bats.

Those numbers in a Dodgers uniform have been astronomical. Ramirez has 24 hits in 53 at-bats where the ball ended up in dead center to right field (.453 average). His slugging percentage on those hits is .925, good for third in all of baseball during that time behind lefties Jay Bruce and Josh Hamilton.

Few pitches have been safe when Ramirez goes up the middle and to right as a Dodger.

But Ramirez does need to start hitting better at Dodgers Stadium. In 22 games, Ramirez has 17 hits in 81 at-bats for a .210 average.