Hanley battling slump

Hitless in his last 11 at-bats, Hanley Ramirez was given Friday off. It was expected, as Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said on Wednesday that he likely will sit his two-time All-Star shortstop.

The slump has lowered Ramirez’s batting average to .341, which leads the National League.

Ramirez is striving to become the first Marlin ever to win a batting title. San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval is second at .330.

It would take something drastic for Ramirez not to win the title.

“I think it’s a lock,” said Cody Ross, Ramirez’s teammate. “He deserves it.”

As impressive as Ramirez has been, he has labored for a few weeks. Consider, on Sept. 13, he was batting .361. Since then, he is 11-for-62 (.177) with one home run, two doubles and six RBIs.

Before heading to Philadelphia, the Marlins faced the Braves in Atlanta. Ramirez was 0-for-10 in the series.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez says this may be the worst he’s seen Ramirez swing the bat in three years.

“The thing I see, like with any prolonged slump, you start swinging at pitches out of the strike zone,” Gonzalez said. “That’s the only thing I see. That’s the thing Pres [hitting coach Jim Presley] sees. You start swinging at ball one, ball two. Then you’ve dug yourself in a difficult situation because you swung at balls out of the strike zone.”

No Marlin has ever finished with a batting average higher than .340. The team record is Miguel Cabrera’s .339 in 2006. Cabrera that year finished second to Freddy Sanchez, then with the Pirates, in the batting title race.

– Joe Frisaro

 

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