Marlins remain committed to Ramos as closer
MIAMI -- A.J. Ramos has certainly had his highs and lows since the All-Star break, but the right-hander showed why he is retaining his closer role on Sunday in the Marlins' 4-3 walk-off win over the Mets at Marlins Park.
Ramos wiggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the ninth inning by getting Travis d'Arnaud to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play.
When Miami pushed across the winning run on Martin Prado's sacrifice fly, Ramos was credited with the win.
"I wish I had some of that same ice water he has in his veins," manager Dan Jennings said. "He goes out there. He's on a mission to compete. That's what he does."
In the final month, the Marlins are seeking some answers regarding several positions. Who will be the closer is not one of them.
Despite some struggles since the All-Star break, Ramos remains firmly entrenched in the closer spot. The right-hander, who took over the role in mid-May, was a standout in the first half, and based on his overall experience, he has the trust of the organization.
"He's the closer right now," Jennings said. "He's earned it. The one thing about A.J., he's got a short memory."
Since the All-Star break, Ramos has a 6.16 ERA in 19 innings, while converting nine of 12 save chances.
In the first half, Ramos was a standout, and many believed he was All-Star-worthy, posting a 1.11 ERA while saving 14 of 17 chances.
The home run has certainly hurt Ramos in the second half. He's given up five of his six homers since the All-Star break.
"The one thing I've seen, in certain counts, when he's looking to put a guy away, the missed location," Jennings said.
The experience Ramos is gaining now will help determine if he enters Spring Training as a closer. If not, he may go back to a setup role, and offer a fallback to close.
For the season he's saved 23 of 29 chances.
Right now the Marlins don't have many closing options. Carter Capps, who possesses a 100-mph fastball, is a possibility. But Capps has been on the disabled list with a right elbow strain since Aug. 3.
Capps is expected to pitch this month, but it is unclear when.
"It's been a level of comfortableness when he's been on the mound," Jennings said. "On flat ground, he's been great. So he backed it off a little bit, when he felt a little discomfort on the mound. Now, it's about getting him back on the mound, and letting him have that time up there where he doesn't feel any discomfort."