CLEVELAND -- After Indians second baseman Jose Ramirez crossed home plate and returned to the Indians' dugout following his two-run homer in the third inning of Friday night's 4-3 loss to the Royals, chants of "M-V-P" echoed throughout Progressive Field.Even though the Tribe's American League-record 22-game winning streak came to
CLEVELAND -- After Indians second baseman Jose Ramirez crossed home plate and returned to the Indians' dugout following his two-run homer in the third inning of Friday night's 4-3 loss to the Royals, chants of "M-V-P" echoed throughout Progressive Field.
Even though the Tribe's American League-record 22-game winning streak came to an end, Ramirez showed no signs of slowing down. The All-Star had been scalding at the plate throughout the Tribe's historic streak, and he continued with Friday's blast into the left-field bleachers off Royals starter Jason Vargas.
Ramirez's AL MVP candidacy can no longer be denied.
"He deserves it. He deserves it," Indians right fielder Jay Bruce said. "He's right up there in the conversation for the best player in this league this year. There's still a lot of time left for him to help his case, and I have no doubt that he will."
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Given the impressive nature of the win streak, manager Terry Francona said the national coverage that the team has received can help Ramirez's bid for the award.
"That's the one really nice thing," Francona said. "That gives me a platform to brag about our guys because I love doing it. I think they deserve it. It won't be the last time."
Ramirez's 27th homer of the season traveled a projected 425 feet, according to Statcast™. It marked the switch-hitter's third-longest homer of the season, and his second-longest from the right side of the plate.
Ramirez swung at a shoulder-high, 1-1 fastball from Vargas and did not miss it. According to Statcast™, the pitch was 3.71 feet off the ground, which is the highest hit for a home run by an Indians player this season. It also marked the highest pitch that Ramirez has hit for a home run since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015.
"Yeah, he whacked it pretty good," Francona said of Ramirez's home run.
In the Tribe's last 23 games, Ramirez has posted a slash line of .413/.451/.960 with nine homers, 11 doubles, one triple, 16 RBIs and 18 runs scored. In that span, Ramirez has only struck out three times in 75 at-bats (82 plate appearances).
On the season, Ramirez is hitting .313 with 83 extra-base hits -- 27 homers, an MLB-leading 50 doubles and six triples. He has also posted a .943 OPS to go along with 75 RBIs, 99 runs scored and only 64 strikeouts.
"It's unbelievable," Joe Smith said of Ramirez's season. "That's the coolest thing if you're fortunate enough to stay around this game and you see the guys come up [from the Minors]. ... It's cool watching them turn into unbelievable big leaguers."
While Bruce acknowledged that there are other worthy candidates for AL MVP, he thinks Ramirez should be given plenty of consideration for the award.
"He's got it in him, that's for sure. I look forward to him continuing to be himself," Bruce said. "I think that's the biggest thing in this whole deal. This whole time, he's been himself. He's just playing. He's preparing and he's ready, and he's fun to watch. He's a big part of this team, so we'll see."
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.