Offensive Outburst by Ramirez Earns Him AL’s Player of the Week Nod
Bob Toth | On 20, Jun 2017
Any concerns about Jose Ramirez at the plate have been quieted as his bat has woken up loudly from an early May slumber to ignite the Indians lineup with an incredible hitting display.
Working in seven games in total in Cleveland’s series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Minnesota Twins last week, Ramirez totaled 16 hits in 31 at bats (.516) as the Indians went 5-2 and Ramirez earned himself the American League’s Player of the Week honor.
The award was the first of the career for Ramirez and the first won by an Indians player this season.
Ramirez actually started the week with an 0-for-4 against the Dodgers on Tuesday, meaning his 16 hits actually came in 27 at bats for an even better batting average in the six games that followed. His season batting average sat at .279 following the 0-fer.
On Wednesday, the bat erupted for the Indians third baseman. He went 2-for-4 with a double and a solo home run as Cleveland lost, 6-4. It took him until his third at bat of the game to register his first hit of the game and he did so in clutch fashion, tying the game with a solo homer in the seventh inning off of Dodgers reliever Josh Fields. He doubled his next time up to put the tying run in scoring position, but he was unable to score as the Tribe would go on to lose.
He had three more hits in the series finale with the Dodgers on Thursday afternoon. He hit a double, scored twice, and drove two runs in as Cleveland avoided the sweep by Los Angeles in a 12-5 rout. Getting a rare start in the third spot in the lineup with Michael Brantley out, he drove home a run in the first inning off of left-hander Rich Hill to give the Indians an early lead. He would deliver an RBI-double the next inning to extend the Indians lead to 4-0. After fouling out in the fourth, he singled and scored in the sixth before lining out in his final at bat of the blowout.
The Indians hit the road, where Ramirez had struggled with just a .223 average this season heading into the series at Target Field. He broke that season-long scuffle as he had his second straight three-hit game, supplying a pair of doubles and reaching base a fourth time after being hit by a pitch. He crossed the plate twice as the Indians won, 8-1.
He led the way to the first run of the night as he hit the first of three straight Indians singles in the second inning, coming in to score on the latter by Yan Gomes. He doubled in the third and did so again in the fifth before scoring on a single by Gomes. He struck out and was hit by a pitch in his final two plate appearances.
Ramirez did double duty in more than one way on Saturday as the Indians and Twins played a doubleheader. He put up three hits again for the third straight game in the first game, hitting a double, homering from both sides of the plate, and driving in four runs in the 9-3 win. He played second base in the night cap while hitting third in the lineup for the second straight game and third time in four days. He singled and doubled, but the Twins kept him from scoring. It did not stop the Indians, however, as they won 6-2.
He would combine to go 5-for-10 in the doubleheader with two doubles, two homers, and four RBI while becoming just the eleventh Indians player in club history to homer from each side of the plate (and the second this season, joining Francisco Lindor).
In Sunday’s finale, it was more extra base power for Ramirez, who went 3-for-4 against a right-handed starter for the first time in the series. He doubled twice, walked once, and scored two more runs as Cleveland completed the four-game sweep on Minnesota, 5-2. He wasted no time extending his hitting streak, recording a first inning double. After a groundout and a walk, he singled in the seventh and hit another double in the ninth before stealing third and scoring on a sacrifice fly from Edwin Encarnacion.
In addition to his .516 average for the week, Ramirez had eight doubles, three homers, drove in seven runs, and scored nine times. He hit safely in six straight games with multiple hits and at least one double in every game.
It has been a dramatic turnaround for Ramirez, who suffered through an extended slump during May.
Ramirez endured a rough three and a half week stretch from the beginning of May through May 24 that saw his batting average fall from .333 at the end of April to .265 while mired in a 13-for-71 slump (.183). A five-game hitting streak in the last six games of the month boosted his average by more than 30 points and set the tone for what has been a successful month of June with the final third of the month still yet to be played.
Since the start of the five-game hitting streak at the end of May, Ramirez has hit .402 with a .435 on-base percentage and a .724 slugging mark with 35 hits (13 doubles and five homers), ten RBI, 21 runs scored, and five stolen bases heading into action on Monday night.
Ramirez beat out several viable candidates for the award. Minnesota’s Eduardo Escobar went 13-for-25 (.520) at the plate in seven games with two doubles, two homers, and six RBI. Teammate Eddie Rosario hit .440 with four homers and seven RBI. Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain hit .458 with a double, four homers, and six RBI while stealing a pair of bases. Ramirez’s teammate Encarnacion hit .391 with four homers and ten RBI, with the homer tally tied for the most in the week while his RBI production trailed only Lonnie Chisenhall in all of baseball.
Ramirez extended his hitting streak, his doubles streak, and his multi-hit hitting streak on Monday night in Baltimore with fourth and sixth inning two-base hits before a triple in the seventh. It gave him the longest multi-hit hitting streak by an Indians player since Shin-Soo Choo in 2008.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images