The Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos provided most of the offense for the Nationals Tuesday against the New York Mets and continues to make a case to be the regular backstop for this team going forward.
This case doesn’t have to go to an arbitrator. The numbers don’t lie.
Ramos is now batting .378 which is 128 points better than the next offensive starter (Danny Espinosa .250) and well over 150 points better than Jayson Werth (.220) and Adam LaRoche (.219).
On Tuesday, Ramos had one of those attention grabbing nights when he cranked a pair of solo home runs off of Mets starter Chris Young deep over the left center field wall. He finished 3-for-4 with two homers, a career-high three RBIs and two runs.
Ramos said an adjustment to his approach at the plate made a difference this week.
“I feel a couple of days ago I was trying to hit the ball too hard and pull the ball too much,” Ramos said. “So today I concentrated on hitting the ball to the middle. He threw me a couple pitches inside and I hit the ball pretty good.”
It is pretty obvious the impact Ramos is having on an offense that has scored five or more runs only seven times out of the 18 nine-inning contests they have played this season.
Without Ryan Zimmerman in the lineup and Ian Desmond on paternity leave, Ramos now mans the crucial run-producing fifth spot in the order, behind big bats of Rick Ankiel, Werth and LaRoche.
The Nationals manager Jim Riggleman says Ramos continues to impress and has learned a lot from veteran Ivan Rodriguez.
“You hate to see a guy hit a couple of homers in a losing cause,” Riggleman said. “It was a good night for him. He is a good player. He has really taken to instruction real well from Pudge (Rodriguez). He works really hard. They communicate a lot. It is a nice thing to see the relationship develop between those two guys.”
“(Ramos) is a special player in his own right. He is going to show you what he did tonight. You are going to see more of that.”
So is it time for Ramos to get more playing time than Ivan Rodriguez? Should the Nationals drop a platoon system and start Ramos three out of four games or even four out of five games each week?
It would seem his lethal bat is answering that question, especially in a lineup that is desperate for someone to step up as an RBI machine. Ramos is now 17-for-45 in 14 games with a .578 slugging percentage. Rodriguez has played in 11 games and is batting .194.
If Ramos continues to deliver offensively, the Nationals may accelerate their thinking on easing Ramos into being the regular catcher and just make him the man now. To get some offense on the board, the Nationals may have no other choice.
Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann said despite the loss, he was also impressed with the game Ramos called and the offense he provided.
“He is great behind the plate,” Zimmermann said. “Finally he is hitting some home runs and feeling good at the plate. He caught a great game and brought the bat too.”