With their star hitter in a power drought, the Dodgers have kept winning this season and will try for a sixth straight victory in Friday night’s start of a three-game home series with the Colorado Rockies.
The Dodgers acquired the slugger from Boston in a July 31 trade and used his .396 average and 17 home runs in 53 games to overtake Arizona for the NL West title, winning 18 of 23 games during one stretch.
Ramirez signed a two-year, $45 million contract in March, but hasn’t produced at anywhere close to the same level. Following Thursday night’s 7-2 win over visiting San Francisco, he was hitting a pedestrian .258 with no home runs in his first 31 at-bats.
The 17-year veteran, whose 527 career homers are nine shy of tying Mickey Mantle for 15th place on the career list, endured 55 at-bats in 16 games without a long ball in 2006. He also went 13 games in 2007 and 10 games in 2005 without a homer.
Not helping are the opposing pitchers who have walked Ramirez a league-leading 13 times this season - with at least one in nine games.
The Dodgers (7-3) have benefited and used a balanced approach in outscoring opponents 37-10 during their streak. At least five players have gotten a hit in each game, and at least three have driven in one run.
“I’ve always thought it was dangerous to rely with one person,” Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said. “What if you don’t have him? Does that mean you can’t win?”
In sweeping the Giants on Thursday, the Dodgers had seven different players record a hit, including Matt Kemp - who extended his streak to 10 games with an RBI triple in the second.
Los Angeles’ pitchers have allowed two runs or fewer in four of the five wins. Bouncing back after dropping his first outing, Randy Wolf gave up one run on two hits in seven innings during a 3-1 win Sunday in Arizona.
Wolf (1-1, 3.65 ERA) is slated to start Friday and is 4-2 with a 4.50 ERA in nine career starts against the Rockies. Last season with San Diego, the left-hander split two starts against Colorado and took a no-hitter into the seventh on April 15, 2008.
The Rockies (4-4) are trying to regain momentum after snapping a three-game skid with Wednesday’s 5-2 road win over the Chicago Cubs and hope Jorge De La Rosa can bounce back from a rough first start.
De La Rosa (0-1, 9.64) yielded five runs on six hits in 4 2-3 innings Saturday night in an 8-4 loss to visiting Philadelphia. The left-hander, however, has struggled with Los Angeles in seven career appearances and three starts, going 0-3 with a 8.14 ERA.
Nagging Colorado is the struggles of closer Huston Street, who is 0-1 with a save and a 13.50 ERA in four appearances. Street beat out Manny Corpas for the job out of spring training, but might lose it as soon as Friday.
“I’ve got a whole night and a whole ‘nother day to figure something out,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said after Wednesday’s game. “If we need to figure something out.”
The Dodgers won five of nine meetings at home last season, but needed a victory Aug. 21 to snap a four-game skid to Colorado.