LOS ANGELES -- The Cardinals started last season's National League Championship Series with a roar when Joe Kelly hit Hanley Ramirez with a pitch during the first inning of the Game 1 at Busch Stadium. The pitch cracked Ramirez's ribs, and he batted .133 (2-for-15) in five games.
Ramirez has since been hit again twice by Cards pitchers, coming in the same game in St. Louis on July 20 -- by Carlos Martinez early on and later in the game by closer Trevor Rosenthal. Clayton Kershaw, who is slated to start Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Friday at Dodger Stadium (3:30 p.m. PT, FOX Sports 1) against Adam Wainwright, hit Matt Holliday in the middle of that July game, the most recent time the two teams have met.
Kelly has since been traded to the Red Sox, and Ramirez is somewhat healthy going into the playoffs after a season filled with nagging injuries. If there is any bad blood left over from the dual confrontations, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wasn't biting on it when questioned on Thursday.
"To be honest with you, it's hard to go into a series thinking about who is going to get hit and who is not going to get hit, or [what if] somebody gets hit," Mattingly said. "Our preparation has been just that, trying to get ready for Wainwright and his pitches and what he does -- make sure our guys are ready to play baseball.
"I think, for the most part, intimidation doesn't work and is not something we're concerned about. We always protect our guys. I don't feel like, from the very first day I've been here, that we have ever intentionally hit a guy because he was hitting [the ball well] against us.
"Now, we protect our own guys, but we're not going to go after anybody. Honestly, it's not something that I even really think about. The game tells you what to do and what you have to do."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.