With injuries and inexperience limiting the Rays in some areas, the offensive production has improved thanks to one man.
In most cases, a buffalo can be found roaming throughout the grasslands of North America. However, for Wilson Ramos, nicknamed The Buffalo, home is a small patch of dirt that rests under a pale-white sky — the roof at Tropicana Field.
With the season off to a dreadful 1-8 start, three key pitchers on the DL, and a roster littered with youth and inexperience, the Rays needed somebody to step up as an offensive leader.
Ramos has turned into that guy.
Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier has, almost by default, taken over the role of leader for this team. However, sidelined with a torn ligament in his thumb, the gold-glove outfielder won’t be providing any offensive support for at least another two months.
Cast as a disappointment by many having played in only 64 games last season — his first in Tampa Bay — Ramos has been the most consistent member of the team over the last three weeks. Since watching his batting average drop to .162, after an 0-for-3 showing on April 13, the 30-year-old backstop has raised his average by 153 points. He now sports a team-high .315 average.
The biggest reason for the steady increase — a 14-game hitting streak.
Currently the longest active hit-streak in Major League Baseball, Ramos’ base hit against Toronto starter Marco Estrada in the bottom of the second inning of a 2-1 loss surpassed Kiermaier’s 13-game streak from 2016. The franchise record is held by Jason Bartlett, who had a 19-game run in 2009. For Ramos, it ties the second longest of his career, having posted a 19-game streak of his own while with the Washington Nationals in 2015.
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