Ramos’ request to play on Sunday pays big dividends for Nats

You have to think Wilson Ramos was trying to make up for lost time on Sunday.

Way back on opening day, March 31 in New York against the Mets, the Nationals catcher had only three at-bats before he was removed with a hand injury.

That hand injury turned out to be a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. Ramos missed 32 games.

On Sunday, in only his eighth game since returning from injury, Ramos had a big day at the plate against those very same Mets.

Ramos had a two-run double in the third and a two-run single in the fifth to highlight a 6-3 series-clinching win over the Mets. It was a big day for Ramos, since he had only one hit in the series prior to Sunday’s outburst, a single on Friday.

For good measure, Ramos added a walk and came around to score the Nats’ final run. His four RBIs were his best since a five-RBI outburst against the Phillies on Sept. 15, 2013. He had had just two RBIs total since returning from the disabled list.

Manager Matt Williams saw something again Sunday that reminded him why the Nats put Ramos in the middle of the order. Even though Sunday’s extra base hit was his first since May 7 as he builds his strength back, Williams said the Nats need Ramos in critical at-bats for other reasons.

“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 (Ryan) Zimmerman. 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.”

Usually, on Sunday day games, the starting catcher gets the day off. But Ramos spoke to Williams and convinced his manager he needed to play in the series finale.

Ramos said he needs every day game and everyday at-bats to get back into a nice rhythm.

“When I play every other day, it is hard because if you feel hot that day and then you get a day off you get bad,” Ramos said. “Yesterday, I was feeling good. I hit the ball well. I talked to him and I say, ‘I want to play tomorrow’. Because every time I play games straight, I feel better and better and better. So that is the reason he put me in the lineup today.”

Ramos said multiple at-bats are also helping him feel more comfortable at the plate. He is not worried about whether or not he is launching home runs right now; instead, he’s looking to make good contact.

“I feel good at the plate right now and I hit the ball well,” Ramos said. “Every time I play some games straight, I feel better. I feel better at the plate, more consistent. That is what I want to do. I want to be consistent day by day and try to help the team.

“I just concentrate and wait for my pitch and make a good contact. That is what I am looking for. Not looking for hitting homers, nothing like that. When I try to hit a homer, every time I look for that I hit ground ball (to) short, ground ball (to) second. I concentrate to make a good contact and see what happened.”

Ramos understands that with big hitters like Zimmerman, Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche not available due to injury, he bears more responsibility to generate offense. He is more than willing to take on that responsibility. But he also knows that he plays a part in providing support for those guys as they regain strength after an injury and eventually get back to the lineup.

“That is what I want to do,” Ramos said. “I want to help those guys to keep their head up, keep working hard. That is what I did when I was on the DL. I never threw my head down, (I was) working hard every day. That is the reason when you come back, you come back strong. You can never get down.”

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