Aramis adds 5-RBI night to farewell tour
Ramirez racks up 3 doubles by 4th inning as Brewers cruise
MILWAUKEE -- In the 51st game of his 18th and final Major League season, Aramis Ramirez showed there are still some big hits left in his bat.
Less than two weeks shy of his 37th birthday, the Brewers third baseman had three run-scoring doubles and five RBIs by the fourth inning of Friday's 8-4 win over Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals at Miller Park. It was the best performance to date of Ramirez's farewell tour -- his first triple-double game since 2011, when he was still with the Cubs -- and his first game of five or more RBIs since 2013. After going 4-for-43 over a 14-game stretch through Monday, Ramirez now has at least one hit in five of his last six games.
"He's still that presence in the lineup. He really is," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell.
Did he need to show it?
"Of course. You need nights like tonight where he kind of just drives the bus offensively and just cleans everything up," Counsell said. "He did it tonight, that's for sure."
More nights like this would be a big deal for the Brewers. Besides helping to win a few games -- and Counsell's Crew has won six of its last eight, all against contenders Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Washington -- a Ramirez hit streak would better position the team to weigh offers as the July 31 Trade Deadline nears.
Ramirez, who will retire at season's end, is one of a number of Brewers with expiring contracts. Another, Gerardo Parra, went 3-for-4 with a walk Friday and boosted his average to .285. Ramirez's three-hit effort pushed his own average to .223, and the five RBIs gave him 24 this season.
The Mets have been the most prominent team mentioned as a suitor for Ramirez. Whatever talks have taken place between New York GM Sandy Alderson and Milwaukee's Doug Melvin have been preliminary.
"He doesn't play the game to just go through the motions," said first baseman Adam Lind, who tallied three hits as the Brewers tied their season high with 16 hits. "I think anytime it's your last year, you want to go out maybe not on top, but at least a productive ballplayer."
Asked whether Ramirez ever showed signs of frustration this season, as his batting average hovered around .200, Lind laughed and said, "Life is good for Aramis."
Indeed, Ramirez has earned just shy of $150 million in his career, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
But on the field, he remains arguably the Brewers' most stoic player.
"He's the type of guy, if he doesn't hit, there's always that next at-bat or tomorrow," said second baseman Scooter Gennett. "He's very smart and mature when it comes to hitting. That's all it takes, just knowing you are going to get another opportunity."
Ramirez now has 1,338 career RBIs as a third baseman, fifth all-time and only three RBIs behind Chipper Jones, who is third on the list. Another active player, Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, is fourth with 1,340 RBIs from third base.