Wilson Ramos passed St. Louis Cardinals' catcher Yadier Molina for the most consecutive starts behind the plate in the majors in 2013 when he geared up for the 23rd straight game in the Washington Nationals' series finale with the Philadelphia Phillies. Ramos went 4 for 4 with a solo home run and five RBIs in the Nats' 11-2 win over the visiting team from Philadelphia. Over the course of the stretch of starts, Ramos is now 23 for 88 (.261 AVG) with seven home runs in 94 plate appearances. And he's not necessarily going to sit any time soon.
"I mean, he's a horse," Davey Johnson told reporters, "I went to him after the game and I said, 'Randy wants me to rest you, how you feeling?' He says, 'I feel great.' So, he don't want no rest. All through this he's been hitting the heck out of the ball, catching good, throwing people out. He's hard to take out of the lineup. We've missed him for two years. So, I'm going to ride him." Ramos played just 25 games in 2012 before he suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee. Two hamstring injuries this season cost him even more time. He's got some at bats to make up.
"You can get labeled as injury-prone," Johnson admitted, "For him to come back and catch as good and as often as he has, just proves his point. He's durable." Ramos has played in 53 of the Nats' last 64 games since July 4th, and he's put up a .280/.306/.490 line since returning from his second DL stint of the year.
"It can be grueling," Johnson said. "The good news is it hasn't been that hot. I mean it was hot a little bit early and that was good with his leg, but he's been getting treatment every day and he's strong as a bull. I mean, he shakes my hand every day before the game. And I'm ready for it. It's the last person I touch before the game and I feel like I've got a meat grinder on me, you know. But he's fun to watch. He's just -- quality at bats, and today was an unbelievable good day."
Ramos drove Bryce Harper in with a two-out single in the second. An RBI single in the fourth put Washington ahead, 3-2. His solo home run into the Red Porch seats above the #NATITUDE wall in center made it 6-2 in the sixth and before he was lifted from the game he drove in two more runs with his fourth hit, making it 10-2. At that point he got a hard-earned rest.
On the year, the 26-year-old catcher now has a .286/.317/.500 line with nine doubles and 15 HRs in 68 games and 265 plate appearances.
Imagine what he could do with a full season? "It's 100 RBIs and 28 bombs," Johnson said, "huge difference. He's been missed. [Kurt] Suzuki did a great job, but he wasn't the kind of player Ramos is... Ramos is really a strong no.1, one of the best catchers in the league."
Do they risk tiring him out though? Johnson doesn't seem to think so. "I'll talk to him," the 70-year-old manager said. "I know Randy said, 'Keep looking at him and if you see any signs of slowing down, let me know.' But I'll check with him tomorrow. I did check with him after the game today and he's, 'No. I'm great. I'm great.' I hate to take that weapon out of the lineup. Maybe after Atlanta leaves."
AUDIO: Nats Nightly w/ Dave Nichols from the District Sports Page And FBB's Doghouse:
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