Dodgers vs. Braves NLDS 2013: Hanley Ramirez Will Be the Difference Maker in this Series

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers are set to face off in an NLDS that is sure to provide a lot of sparks and excitement. And while the Braves have the better record and the very distinct, at least for them, home-field advantage, the Dodgers will emerge victorious. It won’t be because of Yasiel Puig, Clayton Kershaw or Adrian Gonzalez, though. The reason the Dodgers will win the 2013 NLDS is none other than Hanley Ramirez.

Since rejoining the Dodgers this year following his injury recovery, Ramirez has quite literally torn the cover off of the ball. For the regular season he batted .345 with a .402 OBP. He played in just 86 games but still managed 20 HR and 25 2B, which is quite the impressive feat.

Fortunately enough for the Dodgers, Ramirez’s second best month of the season was this September. He batted .370, had an OBP of .462, slugged .704 and had five HR. Moral of the story, Ramirez has absolutely caught on fire and he has done so just in time for the postseason.

In addition to the heat stroke, Ramirez also provides the Dodgers with huge numbers on the road including a .352 average with 12 of his 20 HR and 41 of his 62 runs scored. Against the Braves, who have been a much better home team, Ramirez’s success on the road will pay huge dividends in the all-important first two games of the series.

Then there is the fact that over the last five years, Ramirez has absolutely torn apart the probable Atlanta starters. The 29-year-old SS is hitting .556 in nine at-bats against Kris Medlen, .300 in 20 at-bats against Paul Maholm and .375 in eight at-bats against Freddy Garcia. The only starter Ramirez has not hit well is Mike Minor (.250 in eight at-bats).

Throughout his career, most of which was with the Miami Marlins, Ramirez had more chances than anyone else currently on the Dodgers roster to face the Braves and to play at Turner Field. And while he has not played spectacularly against the Braves, Ramirez can hold his own and certainly has that strong experience to draw back on.

He is playing in just his first career postseason game and that might be concerning to some. But with what Ramirez has done this year and throughout his career against the Braves’ pitchers, there is no reason to believe that he won’t be able to carry the Dodgers on his back and into the NLCS.

Marilee Gallagher is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17 like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.

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