Ramos' defense starting to become a question mark (Werth delivers, Tracy too)

Wilson Ramos is regarded as an above-average defensive catcher.

He's got a strong arm, is usually sound when it comes to blocking balls in the dirt and has good overall fundamentals behind the plate.

So far this season, however, Ramos' defense has left something to be desired.

Ramos could have made a grab on Jayson Werth's throw to the plate in the fourth inning, but couldn't hang onto the ball, and Shane Victorino scored the game's first run on a Carlos Ruiz sac fly.

Werth's throw wasn't great - it tailed up the line a bit - and Ramos surely heard Victorino's footsteps as he extended to try and snatch the ball on a bounce. It would have been a tough play, but one Ramos will surely say he could have made.

The Phillies have a 1-0 as a result.

The play at home was just the latest in a string of defensive miscues for Ramos this season. He's thrown out just two of the 19 runners who have attempted to steal on him (11 percent) and at times has dropped pop-ups and let pitches get by him allowing runners to advance.

But the biggest issue has been his ability to hang onto throws home. He's now dropped a few this year, and his defensive reputation is starting to take a hit.

Update: Kyle Kendrick, yesterday's starter for the Phillies, told Philly reporters that he was pitching around Bryce Harper last night, not wanting to give the rookie a pitch to hit.

The strategy paid off, as Werth followed up to of the three Harper walks last night (and one in the first inning today) by stranding runners in scoring position.

Werth delivered in the fifth inning this afternoon, however, smacking a three-run homer into the Phillies' bullpen in left to give the Nats a 3-1 lead.

Rick Ankiel's RBI double three batters later made the lead 4-1, although Danny Espinosa was thrown out at home trying to tack on another run.

The homer was a big statement by Werth, who had just two longballs on the season entering today. More importantly, it gave Nats starter Gio Gonzalez a lead to work with.

Update II: Ian Desmond's fourth homer of the season - a solo blast in the sixth - has upped the Nats' lead to 5-1.

Update III: As if two home runs today weren't enough, Chad Tracy decided to get in on the action. The first baseman hit his second home run of the season, smacking a two-run shot to right field, pushing Washington's lead to 7-1 in the seventh inning. Tracy is 3-for-4 on the day, one of four Nationals with multi-hit afternoons.

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