Alexei reversing trend of April struggles
CHICAGO -- April has not been kind to Alexei Ramirez throughout his Major League career.
In fact, it has been downright mean.
Ramirez's early struggles began with a rough .121 April average as a rookie in 2008 and continued with a .214 mark in '09, .221 in '10 and .207 in '12. He hit .265 in April during the '11 season but dropped to .220 in July and .239 in August of that year.
Dealing with that cold early weather seemed to become second nature to the White Sox shortstop when he finished last April at .281. The fact that his average never dropped below .271 in any other month of the 2013 campaign illustrated Ramirez was becoming a more consistent performer.
That consistency has taken another major jump at the start of this season, evidenced by Ramirez's .420 average and 13-game hitting streak after Sunday's two-hit effort that was capped by a walk-off home run to give the White Sox a 4-3 win over the Indians. Ramirez currently leads the American League in average (.420), OPS (1.143), hits (21) and multihit games (eight), while ranking in the top 5 in four other categories.
Using the whole field has been a crucial adjustment for Ramirez's success.
"Pitchers are trying to pitch, and if I hit them good on one side, they are looking for another," Ramirez said through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "So I've been lucky to be able to pretty much hit the ball where it's pitched. If I'm getting hits in one area, then they are throwing to other areas. I've been waiting for [the pitcher] in that area too.
"Everything is about the preparation, I believe. You know, this year I've been working on that and being prepared. I have my routine and, obviously, things have been good."
Ramirez also has made just one error at shortstop to date. His April success with the bat could be a sign of a special offensive season to come, but Ramirez isn't thinking about the long-term ramifications.
"Yesterday is over," Ramirez said. "I'm just going to play day by day."