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Ramos heating up just when Nats need him most

May 18, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT

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Wilson Ramos went 0-for-4 on Saturday and saw his batting average drop to .154. With the Nationals scheduled to wrap up their weekend series against the Mets with a traditional Sunday afternoon game, the recently injured catcher figured to get a standard day off to rest his legs and clear his mind.

Ramos, though, went into manager Matt Williams’ office Saturday night and made it clear he wanted to be right back in the lineup Sunday. He played 23 straight games late last season and saw how that helped him produce at the plate. He believed he made good contact on Saturday and that he would do something significant in this series finale if given the opportunity to play.

“When I play every other day, it’s hard,” he said. “You feel hot one day, and then you get a day off, you can get bad. Yesterday I was feeling good, I was hitting the ball well. So I talked to him and I said I want to play tomorrow. Because I know every time I play games straight, I feel better and better and better.”

Ramos certainly knows himself, because he delivered on his promise during the Nationals’ 6-3 victory over the Mets. Catching for the third straight day, he went 2-for-3 with a walk, driving in four runs and helping pick up an injury-plagued lineup.

“There was a conversation last night about how he felt,” Williams said. “He was adamant about playing today, because he felt it was coming along.”

The Nationals need Ramos, who missed more than a month with a broken bone in his left hand, now more than ever. With Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche all on the disabled list, the pressure falls to the man now hitting cleanup to produce the big hits normally reserved for those big bats.

Ramos, though, has always shown a penchant for coming through in key spots. After returning last July 4 from a pair of hamstring injuries, he led the club in RBI the rest of the season.

The key to Ramos’ success in those situations?

“His heart rate doesn’t increase,” Williams said. “And that’s key for anybody in the middle of the lineup driving in runs. You see that with Jayson (Werth), you see it with him. You see it with Zim. It’s no different at-bat just because there’s guys out there. And he has a good idea on what the guy is going to try and do to him. The situation of the game, what that dictates. It’s good.”

Ramos’ explanation?

“I just concentrate on waiting for my pitch and making good contact,” he said. “That’s what I look for. I’m not looking to hit a homer, nothing like that. I try to hit a homer, every time I look for that, I hit a groundball to short or a groundball to second. So I just try to make good contact and see what happens.”

The Nationals also got a pick-me-up on Sunday from Ian Desmond, who homered for the second straight day and is now 9 for his last 26 with three homers, a triple and eight RBI. Given the injuries that have decimated their lineup through the season’s first two months, they desperately need the remaining healthy regulars to start producing at higher levels.

The signs right now suggest Ramos and Desmond are doing just that. For Ramos, it’s simple. Plenty of guys picked up the Nationals while he was injured. It’s time for him to return the favor.

“That’s what I want to do,” he said. “I want to help those guys keep their heads up, keep working hard. That’s what I did when I was on the DL. I never put my head down. That way, when you come back, you come back strong. Don’t ever get down.”

  1. laddieblahblah - May 18, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    Ramos and Desi, both.

    How good it is to have the Buffalo backing up Werth (and ALR when he gets back). Rendon, Werth, Ramos and Desi will get the Nats enough runs if any 3 of them are hitting at any given time, and they will score more than they need if all 4 guys start to tee off together. And soon it will be Rendon, Werth, Adam, Ramos and Desi. Pretty good heart of the order, even without Harper and Zim.

    They had Frandsen at 2nd today. He didn’t get any hits but he put the ball in play with RISP and got a guy in from 3rd in the bottom of the eighth. Lots better than seeing Danny strike out, again, in that type of situation. Just a weak grounder to short got the job done. I’d rather see Frandsen in the game because he knows how to get that runner in. And he almost hit one out in CF, too.

    • natszee - May 18, 2014 at 7:58 PM

      + 10

    • NatsLady - May 18, 2014 at 10:06 PM

      Yeah, I didn’t like it much at all. Danny would have saved two or three outs defensively that passed up Frandsen.

      • unkyd59 - May 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM

        +1

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 18, 2014 at 10:25 PM

        I guarantee you MW and staff will be looking at video on just that to determine if Espi does in fact get those balls. I’m sure they have measuring tools to make a good determination.

        I understand they wanted to give Danny a day off but a shame they couldn’t time it with a day where a lefty was on the mound where Frandsen could really take advantage.

    • Section 222 - May 18, 2014 at 10:34 PM

      +1. Like I said, in a comment on an earlier thread. I don’t care what Frandsen did on defense. Espi hasn’t driven in a run except by hitting a homer since April 26. In 14 games this month, he has K’d in all but 2. He is ice cold and he needed a rest. There are some who are fine with a guy who bats .175 if he plays great defense. I am not.

      • dcwx61 - May 19, 2014 at 7:57 AM

        What about the original A. Rod and Eddie Brinkman ;)

    • Section 222 - May 18, 2014 at 10:36 PM

      That was a +1 to laddie’s comment. And I seriously doubt that the staff will review the video to see if Danny could have fielded those hits that Frandsen couldn’t. They know he’s better in the field. The fact that certain balls were hit today that Espi might have fielded is pure luck.

      • zmunchkin - May 19, 2014 at 8:18 AM

        It is only luck if you want to say that every ball put in play that is a hit is luck.

      • Section 222 - May 19, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        Well, kind of. What I’m saying is that the fact that 3 balls supposedly (and I haven’t looked at the tape, so I don’t know that this is true) were struck so they were just out of Frandsen’s range, but within Espi’s is basically just chance. There were others that were within both players’ range, and others that would have been hits regardless of who is playing there. So there would be no point to the staff studying those particular hits rather than the range of the two players generally, which they probably already know.

  2. natsfan1a - May 18, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    Well played, Wilson. Well played. And thanks – I really enjoyed the game today. :-)

    “Ramos, though, went into manager Matt Williams’ office Saturday night and made it clear he wanted to be right back in the lineup Sunday.”

  3. letswin3 - May 18, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    It’s cool that Ramos is now using the Phish song Wilson, and the crowd has picked up on it to chant Willllll-son.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 18, 2014 at 8:40 PM

      Can you link that song because I’m a square and have no clue about what Phish is.

      His walkup song used to be music his Uncle had produced.

      Buffalo Wil was huge today. As Laddie said you get Rendon, Werth, Ramos, and Desi hitting and ALR will be back Sunday and this lineup is potent.

      Then add back RZim and Harp and wow, this lineup is scary.

      I’d still play Espi vs RHPs and Frandsen against LHPs and get Walters in vs LHPs into LF.

    • letswin3 - May 18, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      Just watch the first 45 seconds, or so, of this Phish concert back in ’94….. they play those first 2 bass notes, and the crowd then chanted Willll-son. It’s those same 2 notes in Ramos’ walk-up song that has the Nat’s Park crowd now chanting Willl-son. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRnueJP2k9A

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 18, 2014 at 8:58 PM

        Thanks so much. That was great. I’m clearly out of touch. When I looked up Phish on my phone I got Phishing scams.

  4. npb99 - May 18, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    Great development how Ramos has become a fan favorite. He’s been injured, he’s been kidnapped, he’s the Buffalo, and we love him!

    • letswin3 - May 18, 2014 at 8:47 PM

      Yeah, and it’s great to see the buffalo RUMBLIN around the base paths too. His legs have looked really strong when he’s run in each of the last couple games ….. pretty fast, for him, too. Day game after a night game? No problem.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - May 18, 2014 at 9:15 PM

    “I just concentrate on waiting for my pitch and making good contact,” he said. “That’s what I look for. I’m not looking to hit a homer, nothing like that. I try to hit a homer, every time I look for that, I hit a groundball to short or a groundball to second. So I just try to make good contact and see what happens.”

    That is a great quote. Trout said something similar about trying to homer in a quote in Sports Illustrated. If Espinosa could get that through his thick head how great could he become if his midset was on good solid contact.

  6. philipd763 - May 18, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    He’s the perfect clean up hitter for this team and, to his credit, MW realizes this. Hopefully, he will stay healthy the rest of the season.

  7. nats128 - May 18, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    Haren gave up 2 HRs today and 5 runs in 6 innings of which 4 were earned and took the loss as he didnt get his usual amount of run support.

  8. David Proctor - May 18, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    For anyone who was at the game or missed it, you should DVR the re-airing tomorrow. LaRoche was in the booth for several innings and it was great. I think they should do that more often, if they can. He had great insight and improved the quality of the broadcast.

    • nats128 - May 18, 2014 at 9:58 PM

      +1 I DVR’d it and listened to it when I got home.

    • NatsLady - May 18, 2014 at 10:08 PM

      Which innings? I didn’t DVR but can listen on MLB archive.

      • David Proctor - May 18, 2014 at 10:17 PM

        I believe it was innings 3-6 or thereabouts.

    • dcwx61 - May 19, 2014 at 7:59 AM

      +1, yeah great analysies by LaRoche.

    • natsfan1a - May 19, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      I was at the game and around the 4th inning I happened to look over and up at the MASN booth. I saw two guys standing at the front window. I could tell that FP was one and I raised my binos to check on the other guy. I’m like “It’s LaRoche!” After they scored I told my hubby, “Adam needs to visit the booth more often.” :-) Had DVRd the game but haven’t yet watched as there is a lot going on here.

  9. nats128 - May 18, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    What I liked about Ramos today was when Werth popped up in the 5th inning with the bases loaded to make the 1st out Wheeler threw Ramos a 2 seam fastball to try to get a doubleplay grounder and Ramos got that 2nd pitch up and he drove it to LF. With 1 play he picked up Werth and widened the lead. Werth was visibly pissed off after the popup and it definitely dialed up the pressure on Ramos and he did not let it change his approach.

    Great to see Ramos produce and the quotes to Mark are good ones to show why he does produce in those situations.

    Schu can teach and have the preparation for his players and until the player grasps the situation its worthless.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 18, 2014 at 10:12 PM

      If you use a player’s baseline stats when they are hitting without RISP and then compare it to what they do with RISP you get a good idea about what MW was eluding to about how a player reacts to RISP situations. Some players actually get better like Ramos and RZim who believe the pressure shifts to the pitcher.

      I think if you can use that mindset it can work to your advantage.

  10. NatsLady - May 18, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    Robby Ray is on TV. Came in from the bullpen in the Tigers/Red Sox game.

  11. nats128 - May 18, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    Robbie Ray in to pitch for the Tigers. Game is on ESPN.

  12. NatsLady - May 18, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    And our bullpen is NUMBER ONE.

    Team Bullpens by ERA

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 18, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      Impressive. Look who’s at #25. That’s shocking given they money they spent.

  13. thelatencn - May 18, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    And way down at 29 are the Reds, next in line for the Nats. Gotta be patient with the starters, get those pitch counts up.

    • Eric - May 18, 2014 at 11:47 PM

      That’s good to see… I’m nervous about this series… I don’t trust Cincy’s record.

    • NatsLady - May 19, 2014 at 6:14 AM

      That won’t be easy. Reds BP has the fewest innngs pitched, meaning their starters are going deep into games. Cueto is something to see when he’s healthy, and right now, he’s healthy.

  14. Eric - May 18, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    That’s awesome about LaRoche being in the booth. I was listening to Charlie and Dave so I missed it…any insights in particular stand out?

    • Sonny G 10 - May 19, 2014 at 12:36 AM

      IIRC one thing he said was that he believed Anthony Rendon was going to win a batting crown in the future. He and FP talked about Rendon’s quick hands. He also had praise for McLouth, even though he doesn’t have the numbers yet. He also talked about hitting into the shift and how that doesn’t really bother him anymore. He had a lot of other good comments, but I just can’t remember them all. FP was really eating it all up too.

      • nats128 - May 19, 2014 at 7:20 AM

        My fav moment in the convo was when Werth hit that ball to deep SS that was ruled an error and they talked about the Official Scorer was a floor below and that ALR wanted to go down there to talk to him and FP told him he cant do that. That was some good stuff.

        The Rendon convo was also good. He was very complimentary saying before his career was over he would win a batting crown and he was one of the best young players. He definitely validated Frandsens comments however he stayed away from any controversy as Harper wasnt mentioned at all.

  15. dcwx61 - May 19, 2014 at 8:07 AM

    I liked his understanding of calling balls/strikes…Said it must be really, really hard (given they miss a few?)
    or was he being sarcastic ? It’s a good mindset to not get so upset at blue.

    He also provided some understanding and maybe push back to FP when FP was commenting on Zimm keeping the ball up in his last inning. “The guy is a greatest pitcher in the world when the ball is up and the batter hits a weak ground ball, but is terrible when it ends up a 3 run homer”….A game of inches, i guess.

  16. Eric - May 19, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    Thanks for the recaps of the LaRoche sit in… Hope they do that again!

    • Brookstoor - May 19, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      Eric it really was great. LaRoche also talked about his improved approach this year and from listening you know he’s not just benefiting from a small sample size but he correctly identified his issues from 2013 and worked hard in spring to move passed them. He and FP were great to listen to.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

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ATLANTA 55 46 1.0
NEW YORK 48 53 8.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 12.5
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