CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Terry Francona knows talent when he sees it, and the manager’s line for the past few days is that Jose Ramirez is too good of a hitter to slump for much longer.
Surprise! Ramirez got the Tribe out to a 1-0 lead with a solo shot in the 1st inning before tying the game with another home run in the 6th. Those home runs, numbers 19 and 20 on the year, put the 24-year old two big flies away from doubling his previous career high.
“He’s a good hitter and he’s a proven hitter,” Francona said. “All guys go through tough times. Guys who use the whole field and do strike out usually find a way to get hits.”
Even while he hit .160 from August 3rd to 26th, Ramirez still turned in seven extra-base hits out of his 13 total base knocks, giving credence to the idea that even when he struggles, he is a quality player.
“There’s never a doubt,” center fielder Bradley Zimmer said. “You wouldn’t even have noticed that he was in a slump, honestly. He’s the same guy every day and he plays hard every single day. He did his thing tonight.”
Even after his first prolonged slump of the year from April 28th to May 27th in which Ramirez slashed .198/.270/.341, the All-Star snapped out by going 9-for-13 with four doubles in three games.
There is reason to believe more hits are coming for Ramirez.
“I don’t think that anybody lost any confidence in him or anything like that,” starting pitcher Corey Kluber added. “He’s a very dangerous hitter, even when he has a tough few games or whatever. He can come out of it any time.”
Bradley Zimmer brings energy, that much is known. The rookie, even in a prolonged slump at the plate in his own right, is always able to make an impact on the game with his speed and defense.
But it is Zimmer’s propensity to bring those things when the game is hanging in the balance that may be the most impressive part.
On Monday with the Indians just having taken a 3-2 lead in the 7th inning on a Carlos Santana home run, Zimmer singled a batter later.
Instead of resting on his laurels and playing a conservative game with the lead, Zimmer broke for second and then took third when he saw the ball skip away from Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro. That same at-bat, Zimmer scored on a wild pitch from Adam Warren.
“When you’re not losing, when you can push a little bit – I mean, Zim went to third when, if they pick it up, he’s probably out by 20 feet,” Francona said. But it’s aggressive and you’re winning, then you get a tack-on run, so we’ll take it.”