Wilson Ramos defied his reputation as an injury prone player in 2015 to appear in a career-high 128 games for the Nationals, but not once during that stretch did he put in a performance that featured as many hits as he had on Monday night.
In the Nationals' 6-4 win over the Braves, Ramos matched a career-high by going 4-for-4 and recorded his third multi-hit outing in five games this season. One of those hits delivered the go-ahead RBI and another added an insurance run two innings later.
Some may point to the corrective eye surgery Ramos had in spring training as a big reason he is off to a hot start this year. Ramos, though, decided to single out hitting coach Rick Schu.
"It helped me a lot when Rick Schu told me to look at videos because I'm keeping in mind that I can do a good job with my swing, my adjustment today I tried to stay to the middle all the time that's when I hit the ball well, stay to the middle, not try to pull the ball and I did it today. Try to stay to the middle, try to hit the ball hard and that's what happens when I stay like that," Ramos said.
Manager Dusty Baker also pointed to the extra film study with Schu.
"Wilson's been a little frustrated lately. He went to work with Rick Schu, and Rick's real good. He sent him some film or some things to look at. Usually it's a minor correction. You look for something major, and it's usually something minor that's happening in your stroke. I tell you, he hit the ball good tonight," Baker said.
Ramos singled in the first, third, fifth and seventh innings. His single in the fifth struck umpire Bob Davidson in shallow left field and scored Ryan Zimmerman from third. That put the Nats up 5-4.
Ramos' next single was a floater that landed in right field in the seventh inning, a hit that brought Zimmerman home again, this time to put the Nats up 6-4 and allow them some more breathing room.
The two hits made the difference in the game, but it wasn't just Ramos' offense that made him stand out. Just like he did the day before with Dee Gordon, Ramos caught a dangerous runner on a steal attempt at second.
On Monday, it was Braves prospect Mallex Smith, a center fielder making his MLB debut with a reputation as a base stealing threat preceding him. Smith reached on a forceout at second in the fourth inning and took off on a Max Scherzer fastball with Nick Markakis at the plate. Ramos threw a laser to Danny Espinosa at second base and got Smith by a matter of inches.
"I worked a lot with that during spring training, throwing to base, and that's what happens when you work," Ramos said. "Just try to put the ball on the money and that's what happens when you work."
Ramos continued to talk about work when discussing his day at the plate.
"My swing, two days ago 0-for-4, yesterday 0-for-4 again, but I come today and I hit 4-for-4 that's because I was working in the cage. I work in the cage to try and hit the ball better and I did it well. thats what happen when you work," he said.
Hey, whatever works.