Bryce Harper's much-discussed ejection from Wednesday night's game in Washington, D.C. distracted from a lot of went on in the Nationals' fifth straight win. One thing that sort of slipped by was the end of Wilson Ramos' hit streak.
After 19 games, the 27-year-old catcher finally came up hitless, going 0 for 4 with a run scored after he reached on an error in the third of his four at bats.
Over the course of the streak, Ramos improved from a .231/.241/.327 line on April 24th to a .302/.323/.397 line after going 27 for 78 with four doubles, a home run, four walks and 12 Ks over 21 games and 20 starts in that stretch.
Matt Williams was asked before it ended, what was most impressive about the run by the catcher and how big a role Ramos played in the Nationals' run during that period that took them from 7-10 to 24-17?
"It's part of it," Williams said of Ramos' role. "As I said last night, the way that we've gone about it is the way that we want to go about it.
"Create opportunities for guys in the middle of our order. Denard [Span] has helped with that. Yunel [Escobar] has helped with that, Bryce [Harper], of course, for the guys behind him. And it just creates opportunity for [Ryan Zimmerman] and for Wilson and if [Ian Desmond] is hitting seventh for Desi as well. And they're comfortable in those roles, so that helps.
"So, yeah, to answer your question, yeah, it's one of those factors," Williams continued.
"The other factor is that he is, during the streak, a little more patient than he has been.
"So he's been patient, he's been getting good pitches to hit and then taking what the pitcher gives him or the opposition gives him.
"Last night, he hit to a situation knowing that we need a guy in scoring position there. Gave him the 3-0 swing and he got a pitch to hit."
And Ramos hit it, sending a game-tying home run out to left field in what was a 6-5 game in the New York Yankees' favor when he stepped to the plate. It was his first home run on the streak and first in 113 plate appearances going back to April 11th when he hit an opposite field blast in Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.
As for the most difficult part of putting together that sort of streak?
"The most difficult [part] is being a catcher," Williams said.
"Two days ago, he showed up to the ballpark with a swollen right hand and was ready to play. It's not easy. Those guys that put the gear on have it tough back there sometimes. So to be on a hitting streak like this and be a catcher, makes it even more difficult. Really difficult to do."
"It's part of the job, though, they understand that sometimes they've got to take a beating and throw the body in front of it and if you don't get the chest protector on it, it's forearm or hand or something and then you've got to go hit."
For 19-straight games, Ramos did just that, battling through the rigors of the game behind the plate and then picking up a bat and connecting for a hit. He had seven multi-hit games over the stretch, nine runs scored and 12 RBIs.
More importantly, for Ramos, who has dealt with injuries throughout his career, he was in the lineup every day to do it.