Ramirez's bat starting to catch fire
BOSTON -- For much of his career, the question has never been about Hanley Ramirez's bat, but whether he could match that offensive excellence in the other phases of the game. During the Red Sox's 4-2 win over the A's on Saturday, Ramirez flashed the type of complete effort that exemplifies what an explosive player he can be for the Red Sox.
Ramirez paced Boston's offense with three hits, showed improvement in left field and scored from first on a gutsy bit of baserunning. The performance marked Ramirez's sixth multihit game in his last nine starts, over which he is batting .368 with three homers.
His key first-inning home run, a towering two-run blast to center field, was projected by Statcast™ to land 424 feet away. Statcast™ clocked his batted ball speed at 110 mph.
"Very good day," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He gives us an immediate lift with a two-run homer in the first. Ran the bases well. Three base hits on the day. Had a chance for probably a huge day, but hit a couple of balls right to the second baseman."
Ramirez added to that offensive production in the third inning, when he thundered home all the way from first to score on a David Ortiz double -- a hit the A's outfield misplayed off the wall.
"Hanley scoring from first. I don't know if it's a pretty sight," first baseman Mike Napoli said. "I was trying to tell him to take it easy coming into home. He's playing the game hard, and that's what we need to do from pitch one to the last out."
The Red Sox continue to closely monitor the daily workload being placed upon Ramirez, who only played in 371 games from 2012-14. He missed time earlier this season after hurting his left shoulder while trying to make a catch in left field.
Ramirez knew he would be counted upon as a major contributor in his first season back with the Red Sox. As long as he can stay healthy, he said, he expects the production will follow.
"I'm more comfortable," Ramirez said. "The main thing I think is just stay on the field. I haven't been able to do that for the last three years. It's what they want me to do, is just stay on the field and keep playing your butt off."
"There's a lot expected out of him," Napoli said. "There's pressure on him every day to come through every single time. I don't think that's too fair, but I think he's up to it if he wants to come through. He works hard and takes it seriously."