The Nationals could have used Wilson Ramos’ recent offensive surge much sooner.
But Ramos missed stints in April and May, as well as all of June, because of a lingering hamstring injury suffered early in the season.
Finally healthy, the catcher has been one of Washington’s most consistent hitters. Before Tuesday’s game against Atlanta, Ramos had a hit in eight of his previous 10 games, batting .324 with three home runs and seven RBIs in that span.
Against the Mets on July 28, Ramos hit his first career grand slam in a 14-1 blowout win. He rocketed a pitch over the left-field wall and into the opposing team’s bullpen. The Nationals were able to retrieve the ball so Ramos could keep it as a collectible.
“I was waiting for something in the zone,” Ramos said. “I was waiting for a good pitch and got it. I made good contact. I wasn’t looking for a homer, but it happened.”
Since returning to the lineup on July 4, Ramos has played in only three games that the Nationals lost by more than two runs.
In Monday’s 3-2 loss to Atlanta, Ramos moved up to the cleanup spot because right fielder Jayson Werth (groin injury) didn’t start. Ramos responded with two singles in four at-bats.
Manager Davey Johnson has tinkered with the lineup all season to spark his club. With Ramos’ bat catching fire, his move up in the lineup could become permanent.
Before Tuesday’s games, the Nationals were 13½ games out of the NL East. With less than two months remaining in the regular season, Washington’s sights will turn to earning one of the two available wild-card spots. Ramos could be a key for the team’s postseason hopes.
“You have to respond with bats,” Ramos said. “Hopefully we will do it for the rest of the season.”