Hanley Ramirez will need to find consistency in order to help the Boston Red Sox as they push for success in postseason baseball.
The Boston Red Sox are surging, having won nine of their last ten games to push their lead at the top of the AL East to a solid 5.5 games. Despite the Red Sox recent success, designated hitter Hanley Ramirez has failed to match the standards he reached last season. Ramirez has been consistently inconsistent.
Going 2-for-3 in the opener of a three game series against the New York Yankees, Ramirez drove in two runs on his 18th home run of the season. The first baseman also notched his 14th double of the season as Boston dropped their first loss in the previous nine games. Despite a strong outing, finding any form of consistency has been an issue for Ramirez all season.
The 33-year old veteran was then stifled in the final two games of the series, finishing the remainder of the weekend 1-for-9 with five strikeouts as the Red Sox claimed consecutive wins over their rivals. This kind of inconsistency has seen Ramirez slump at times and this season has represented a step back for the man who was set to fill the shoes of David Ortiz, following his retirement last season.
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Ramirez has been equally unpredictable in both home and away games this season, with virtually identical stat-lines at Fenway Park and on the road. Noticeably, Ramirez has played significantly better against divisional opponents, batting significantly better against the Blue Jays, Orioles, Yankees and Rays. The former silver-slugger holds a .272 average against opponents in the AL East and has also recorded 10 of his 18 home runs against divisional opponents; going 46-for-170 in that time.
Ramirez embodied his inconsistency at the beginning of July. After going 8-for-16 against the Blue Jays, including three RBI’s and a home run, the first baseman then managed just 3-for-14 in a series against the Texas Rangers. Coming off a poor month in June after hitting just .222, Ramirez seemed to turn things around in July, improving to .271 and notching six home runs. However, through his six games in August, Ramirez has slowed up again, going 6-for-24, whilst also striking out nine times. Bringing in runs has also presented a problem for Ramirez this season.
After driving in over 100 a year ago, Ramirez has recorded just 44 RBI’s this time around. With just under two months left of the regular season, that number will no doubt rise, but the total will likely fall well short of the 111 RBI’s the former All-Star drove in last season. Additionally, Ramirez is hitting only .253 this season, well below his .286 average of last year. The first baseman has shown glimpses of the success he had last year, but is yet to enjoy any real consistency.
As the Red Sox look to make a strong push in the postseason, Ramirez will need to rediscover his 2015-16 form and help provide runs for a team, who despite their recent success, have at times also struggled to wake up the bats.