Keibert Ruiz went 3 for 3 with two doubles, two walks, and 3 RBIs in the Nationals’ sweep-avoiding, extra-innings win over Miami’s Marlins on Wednesday night, continuing a solid stretch for Washington’s 23-year-old catcher, over which he’s 15 for 43 (.349/.462/.512) with a home run, four doubles, eight walks, and four Ks in 12 games and 54 plate appearances.
Ruiz’s second double of the game came in the top of the 10th, when he drove Dee Strange-Gordon in for the eventual winning run.
“I cannot say enough about Keibert, what a tremendous game he had, honestly,” manager Davey Martinez said after the one win in three in Miami.
“Behind the plate, hitting, everything. Good all-around player. And he’s getting better. Every time he’s out there he’s getting better. He definitely for us was the star of the game.”
Ruiz picked up three hits, and also helped guide Josiah Gray through a solid outing in an all-around performance by the backstop. Having a catcher excelling on both sides of the plate obviously makes a big difference his manager said.
“It’s huge. So what they’ve been working on. You’re seeing he’s starting to see more walks. He’s starting to stay on top of the baseball, and he’s hitting the ball all over the field, which is great, but his catching, his game-calling, his blocking, everything has gotten so much better, and I’m so happy for him he had a game like that today, and hopefully he’ll continue to do it.”
Martinez mentioned Ruiz’s game-calling, so a reporters asked how he’s seen that part of the catcher’s game improve in the time he’s been with the Nationals.
“It’s been awesome, he really has,” Martinez said. “He’s taken responsibility about trying to get this pitching staff on line, trying to do everything to help them during the game. You saw him today with Josiah. There’s a lot of high-leverage situations, and he calmed him down, he made pitches when he had to, and Keibert was good, the game-calling was great. [Victor] Arano comes in and he spikes a couple balls and [Keibert] made unbelievable blocks, and [Tanner] Rainey as well.
“So, like I said, he’s getting better every day and I love it.”