Ramos a welcome addition to Phillies' bullpen

August 17th, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- While Gabe Kapler raved about his confidence in the latest addition to his seemingly always-changing bullpen, the new arrival himself strolled by the Phillies' dugout. , recalled Friday from a two-week stint in Triple-A after returning from the disabled list with a strained left patella tendon, had a fresh, bright blond haircut atop his head. Kapler stopped himself mid-sentence.
"His hair looks great," the manager exclaimed. "Really, really good."
Hairdos aside, Ramos' return to the 'pen provides a welcome reinforcement to a Phillies bullpen that's been one of baseball's best of late. No team's relief pitchers had a better ERA in July than the Phils' 2.55, and over the past 30 days, only the Padres' bullpen has posted a better ERA in the National League.
Prior to heading to the DL on July 22, Ramos had a 1.91 ERA in 33 innings. He averaged one strikeout per inning and allowed just two home runs. Yet because of the Phillies' bullpen depth, there was no room for Ramos when his health returned at the beginning of the month. So the Phils stashed him at Lehigh Valley, where in six innings he allowed six earned runs.
"He came in looking strong," Kapler said. "I know that his numbers in Triple-A weren't optimal, but he's been so good for us here for so long that there is a lot of confidence in deploying him."
That's a luxury for a team vying for its first division title since 2011.
"I just feel we've had a lot of dependable pieces out of that bullpen," Kapler said. "And it's a very comforting feeling to know that we have like three or four deep, and really interestingly, three or four deep with a very specific profile.
"And because there are so many good right-handed hitters around the game, to be able to get them out with a fastball-slider combination and have three or four guys who can do that very effectively between Pat Neshek, , Ramos, --  kind of has a similar mix. Tommy Hunter can throw his cutter away. So we've got a lot of options, so when we go through some guys in a stretch of three or four days, we have backups."
Ramos, 25, replaced , who was optioned Thursday night after allowing seven unearned runs. It was the latest move in a bullpen that's had an open door all season long; this month alone, the Phillies have made 21 transactions involving pitchers.
And when rosters expand in two weeks, it's not absurd to imagine a pitching staff in Philadelphia that approaches 20 players. Kapler has been aggressive in using his bullpen, and extra options plays to that strategy well. He said Friday that carrying a sixth starter is likely.
Triple-A arms such as , and could be among the callups. So could , who has made three rehab starts at Class A Advanced Clearwater as he attempts to come back from a tingling in his fingers that has sidelined him all season.
"He's been feeling good and very enthusiastic," Kapler said. "He has a track record of success at the Major League level. All of his pitches are there. It's just a matter of him getting stretched out and healthy."