Rookie reliever Ramos racking up strikeouts
ATLANTA -- Another hard-throwing Marlins right-hander ranks among the rookie leaders in strikeouts.
A.J. Ramos has fanned 73 batters, which is tied for the second most of any MLB rookie reliever.
Miami's Jose Fernandez tops all rookies with 165 strikeouts entering Friday. But among rookie relievers, St. Louis' Trevor Rosenthal leads the pack with 87 strikeouts. Ramos and Cleveland's Cody Allen are tied for second.
"I've thrown a lot of innings, so I've had a lot of opportunities to strike out people," Ramos said. "I guess I've taken advantage of that."
Ramos actually paces all rookie relievers innings pitched with 68 2/3.
Along with a 95-mph fastball, Ramos has logged his share of strikeouts with his slider and curveball. And against left-handed hitters, he's used his changeup to put batters away.
Ramos has been used primarily in the seventh and eighth innings. Like all relievers, he aspires to someday close. For now, he is gaining valuable experience trying to log those final outs.
"The eighth and ninth innings are when people start to press and put on the pressure," Ramos said. "We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, too. For me, the main thing is slowing the game down.
"Taking it pitch by pitch instead of trying to go for that third out when you only have one. Sometimes you look ahead too far, and it can mess with your focus."