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Clayton Kershaw sticks up for Hanley Ramirez by plunking Matt Holliday

Hanley Ramirez was hit by a pitch during the 4th inning of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday night. As you might remember, Ramirez was hit by Cards starting pitcher Joe Kelly in the first game of the NLCS last year and suffered a broken rib. Clayton Kershaw had finally seen enough.

With LA leading 3-1, runners on first and third and two out, Ramirez was drilled in the shoulder by a fastball from Carlos Martinez that was thrown in a very dangerous area.

Kershaw plunked Matt Holliday in the backside with his first pitch in the next half inning.

“I have a ton of respect for Matt Holliday and the way he plays the game, that’s all I’m going to say about that,” Kershaw told reporters after the game, via Bill Plaschke of the LA Times. “But what I will say is, though, it’s tough when you see Hanley get hit like that so many times. It’s one thing to miss in[side], but when you’re missing up and in at a guy’s face like that, that’s really scary. … When you throw that hard, you need to have a better idea where the ball’s going.”

The home plate umpire immediately warned both teams. Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball, so you know the wild pitch was intentional. While Martinez may not have hit Ramirez on purpose, Kershaw was likely retaliating as much for Kelly’s pitch in the NLCS as he was for Martinez’s high fastball.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had no problem with it.

“We’re going to protect our guys,” Mattingly said.

I guess Kershaw isn’t mad at Ramirez for blowing his perfect game on this play last month. If anyone is going to stand up for his Dodgers teammates, it might as well be their best player.

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  • Matt

    I’m puzzled at Kruk’s lack of insight on this. This is how it should be handled. Guy gets hit on a dangerous pitch, no warning. His team retaliates with one in the leg, both benches warned and there’s no fight, no 100 guys from the bullpen and no further incidents in the game. You’re never going to stop beanballs, intentional or otherwise, and you’ll never be able to read a pitchers mind but in the NL when the pitcher has to come to the plate, this is the best way of self-policing it.

  • underdog77

    I couldn’t agree more and considering Kershaw’s reputation, he showed just how important sending that message was- Intentional or not, if you can’t control your pitches, you’re going to have to stay away from the inner third, or we’re going to retaliate.

    I applaud him for standing up and delivering a precise warning to Holliday’s lower half and the heads of the Cards’ pitching staff (though Rosenthal didn’t seem to catch the drift). I wish it had been at Matinez’s ass though.

    As disappointed as the Cards fans were in the moment and considering their own reputation as the best fans in baseball, I’m sure in hindsight they can understand why it had to be that way.

    Despite me being an Angeleno and a Dodger fan, it concerns safety and the fact that a 98mph fastball thrown to the head is a serious health hazard. Guys able to throw with that kind of velocity prospering from the fear it can instill in their opponents should be held with some kind of accountability when they do “plunk” someone, Dodgers pitchers included. Mattingly’s words ringing true after Hanley’s second HBP, “IT HAS TO STOP”.

  • John Hiatt

    Why would you want to hurt someone that wasn’t responsible. If so, pitcher is just as bad as the other pitcher, if he intentionally hit someone.

  • gyamashita

    it’s one of those “unwritten” rules of baseball where players like to police things on their own. almost everything i’ve heard/read about this specific situation said kershaw did it the right way. and the ump gave warnings. and that was that.

    but to give a better backstory of this specific situation, you have to go back to the NLCS last year when joe kelly nailed hanley in the ribs and hanley, who was the hottest and best hitter on the dodgers, was never the same. many in the dodgers community thought it was a strategic move and no one on the dodgers has forgotten that game.

    flash forward to this current series. puig gets hit on saturday and he’s out indefinitely. then hanley gets hit near the head from a 98 mph heater. of course the dodgers had enough. and the best pitcher on the planet said, “enough.” and at some level i think the cards players and fans mostly understand why kershaw had to do it.