Acquired by the Orioles from the New York Yankees last July 31 for international bonus slots, the Dominican Republic native has been pitching this year with Triple-A Norfolk. He spent one day on the Orioles roster this season on April 10, but did not pitch and was optioned back to the minors the next day.
In 12 starts for Norfolk, he was 3-4 with a 4.33 ERA. Over 60 1/3 innings he allowed 53 hits with 20 walks, 63 strikeouts and a .230 average against. On May 21 he gave up eight runs in 1 2/3 innings against Charlotte. In three starts since then he has a 1.69 ERA, allowing three runs over 16 innings. Minus that May 21st game, his ERA has been 3.22 for the Tides this season.
Last year, Ramirez was 10-3 with a 3.41 ERA for Double-A Trenton when the Orioles acquired him from New York. He then went 5-0 with a 3.66 ERA in six starts for Double-A Bowie to end a strong 2017 season. One where he was an Eastern League All-Star and finished first in the league in wins, second in opponent average against and seventh in ERA.
For this story over the winter, Bowie manager Gary Kendall discussed what he saw from Ramirez on his team in 2017.
“He is a real competitor out there,” Kendall said. “He was not overpowering, but he is around the plate with his fastball and he changes speeds. He’s got a very good feel for his changeup, which is an important pitch for him. He can work backwards, throwing changeups and sliders early in counts and then he expands the strike zone. He was just a guy that really knows how to win.”
Arizona originally signed Ramírez as an amateur and he actually played his first year as an infielder at 17 in 2011. He hit .169 in 44 games in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League. He was moved to the mound in 2012, spending four years in short-season leagues before playing full season ball starting in 2016.
In addition to facing such a good-hitting Boston team today in his first MLB game, Ramirez also will pitch opposite lefty Chris Sale (5-4, 2.83 ERA). Sale ranks eighth in the AL in ERA, fifth in opponent average (.198), sixth in WHIP (0.97) and second in strikeouts (120) and strikeouts/nine innings (12.3). Sale’s eight starts with one or no earned runs allowed are third-most in the AL.
Sale’s .193 average against versus right-handed batters is the second-lowest mark among AL lefties to face 100 RHB. The Orioles will start eight right-handed hitters against him today.
Sale pitched against the Orioles on April 15 and did not get a decision. Over five innings he allowed two hits and one run with eight strikeouts. In 15 career starts, he is 5-2 with a 2.79 ERA. He has a 1.64 ERA in his last five starts against the Orioles, winning the last four.
Boston (46-22) leads the majors in wins. They are 7-3 the last 10 games and 18-8 the last 26. Boston is 8-1 versus the Orioles this season and 11-1 in the last 12 games between the teams.
The Orioles (19-47) are trying to break a six-game losing streak, during which they have lost four of those games by two runs or less and three have gone extra innings. The Orioles have losing streaks this year of five, six, five, seven, seven and six games.
Despite David Hess giving up five runs last night, the O’s starting pitchers have recorded quality starts in six of the last eight and 10 of their last 13 games. Baltimore has 32 quality starts for the season to rank fourth in the AL and seventh in the majors.
Check this out: An 11-year-old boy from New Jersey recently suffered a serious brain injury when struck by a ball in a local youth tourney. The good news is that he is out of the hospital and doing much better. Before he headed home our MASN staff did a pretty cool thing. They got him some signed goodies from the Orioles. Check out that story here.