Facing a 1-2 count in the bottom of the seventh inning during Monday’s 5-4 win over Arizona, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos stood in his open stance, patiently waiting on the perfect pitch to hit.
Diamondbacks left-hander Vidal Nuno delivered a ball over the plate and around Ramos’ knees. Ramos let his swing rip, sending the ball over the center-field fence. It was his sixth home run of the season, and his third in August.
“I’m ready to go,” Ramos said. “I’m ready for this moment and I have to enjoy it.”
This season, Ramos has done most of his damage in the seventh inning. In 30 at-bats in that frame, he’s hit three home runs and is batting .533 with 27 total bases.
But this season hasn’t been easy. In the first game of the year, Ramos suffered a broken bone in his left hand, which forced him to miss a little over a month. It took some time for his power to return.
Ramos has said the pain is minimal, but the injury has kept him from being in the lineup every day.
“With the injuries he’s had, it’s difficult to maintain timing and rhythm,” manager Matt Williams said. “But with the more he plays the better he gets. … He’s swinging the bat well. He’s been doing what he does. He stays through the middle really good. He hits the ball the other way really well with some power.”
Entering Thursday’s game, Ramos held a .308 batting average in August. In addition to his home run on Monday, he hit a walk-off ground-rule double against the Pirates last Saturday.
His clutch stats have been remarkable: Ramos entered Thursday batting .361 when games are tied and .328 with runners in scoring position.
“We have to go out there and play hard,” Ramos said. “We have to win.”
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