Cleveland cracks Cole; Harold's big day brief

September 19th, 2021

NEW YORK -- In the top of the third inning, Indians outfielder set a personal best by recording his most RBIs (four) in a single game. But in the bottom half of the frame, his career day was cut short.

Ramirez was pulled from the game in the bottom of the third after crashing into the right-field wall attempting to catch a solo homer by Gio Urshela. The bat that was responsible for nearly half of the Indians' runs in their 11-1 victory over Gerrit Cole and the Yankees was forced to depart early before getting more chances to rack up more hits.

“It’s definitely difficult to see when that happens in the game,” teammate José Ramírez, who had a stellar 4-for-4, 3-RBI performance on Sunday, said through team interpreter Agustin Rivero after the game. “I want to go see him now and see how he’s doing.”

Harold Ramirez was attempting to track a fly ball that was trying to carry just far enough to clear the right-field fence. He leaped at the last moment and collided with the wall, as the ball bounced on the top of the fence and into the stands. Because of the way his right shoulder jammed into the padding on the collision, Ramirez dropped to the ground in pain before being pulled with a shoulder injury in the middle of the frame.

“It was kind of a precaution taking him out, because he tried to throw and he said, ‘I could throw, but I don’t know if I could cut it loose,’” Indians acting manager DeMarlo Hale said. “I didn’t want anything major to happen. He hit that wall pretty good. So just taking care of these players when we can.”

It can’t be easy to make those decisions, especially after a player started as hot as Ramirez did on Sunday. If there was any concern that AL Cy Young Award candidate Cole would be untouchable against an Indians offense that’s had trouble gaining consistent momentum, Ramirez eliminated those thoughts in the first inning with a two-run single down the right-field line. Two frames later, he did the same thing, recording another two-run single before he was removed from the game. It was just the beginning of Cleveland’s offensive explosion that led to its first time scoring more than 10 runs in consecutive games against the Yankees since June 28-29, 1997.

“I mean, [Harold Ramirez is] a contact kind of guy,” Hale said. “He can take the barrel to the ball, as we say. He can hit good pitching, as well.”

At times, Ramirez’s bat has been a weapon for the Indians. His hard-hit percentage ranked in the 78th percentile, and his average exit velocity ranked in the 81st, entering Sunday. He’s reached base in 16 of his past 17 road games (dating back to July 16), hitting .317 with seven runs scored, six doubles and 12 RBIs in that span.

Bur Ramirez is someone who is looking to prove he belongs in Cleveland’s outfield for more than the 2021 season. Although Hale said that Ramirez seemed to be feeling better after the game, a shoulder injury is not something the outfielder would want to battle with for the remaining 15 games, as he attempts to showcase what his bat could look like in 2022. The Indians are hoping he can show some adjustments and improvements in the final weeks of the regular season as well.

“I think the thing with him that we’d like to see better is the commanding of the strike zone,” Hale said. “He kind of feels he can hit all pitches. That’s a growth that I think he’s going to have to get better at, just commanding the strike zone, because he’s good enough, he hits the ball all over the field, he’s got good hand-eye coordination to put the bat on the ball, so it’s just a matter of getting better at commanding the zone. Those are the things that hopefully he can do.”