TORONTO -- The Rays will take offensive production from anywhere they can get it right now, and with Wilson Ramos showing signs of life in Monday night's 2-1 loss, that might be a good place to start.Ramos has clearly struggled since making his Rays debut in late June and still
TORONTO -- The Rays will take offensive production from anywhere they can get it right now, and with Wilson Ramos showing signs of life in Monday night's 2-1 loss, that might be a good place to start.
Ramos has clearly struggled since making his Rays debut in late June and still owns a .175 average with a .531 OPS. He entered play on Monday 2-for-25 in the month of August, and it's difficult to turn that around overnight, but manager Kevin Cash believes his hitters are close, and Monday night's warning-track shots showed just that.
"We hit some balls really hard," Cash said. "We hit some balls really high. It looked like we had four or five just misses, and Wilson got one out of the ballpark, then just missed another one, it looked like. But you could say that about half our lineup."
The second-inning home run from Ramos traveled 396 feet to right-center field, according to Statcast™, and he almost replicated that in the sixth inning with a 381-foot shot that fell short. Ramos' game has clearly been a work in progress throughout the summer, but he's beginning to show signs of the offensive upside Tampa Bay sees in him.
"A lot," said Cash when asked what impact Ramos could have down the stretch. "Wilson had a really good day of BP. Best BP session, and I know it doesn't mean much, but it makes you feel good as a hitter that I'm swinging the bat a little bit better in BP. It was really nice to see it translate into a game."
Prior to his untimely knee injury late last season, Ramos was having a career year with the Nationals. He hit .307 with an .850 OPS while setting career highs with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs.
The Ramos contract has been about patience from the beginning, given that the two-year deal was signed knowing he wouldn't be ready for Opening Day. Derek Norris handled the position up until his release, and Jesus Sucre has contributed a .661 OPS in a part-time role, but Ramos' pedigree and past performance provide optimism that his bat, in some capacity, can help to right the ship offensively for the Rays.
"He had some good swings," Cash said. "The just-missed home run, the home run and then also a couple foul balls. where he was right on some pitches, so he should go home tonight feeling pretty good about his swing and where he left tonight."
Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.