Ramirez gives Rays a reason to smile

by Gary Shelton on July 12, 2015 · 0 comments

in general

Ramirez has become the Rays' second-best starter./JEFFREY S. KING

Ramirez has become the Rays' second-best starter./JEFFREY S. KING

These days, no one asks Erasmo Ramirez why he is smiling.

These days, it's pretty obvious why the pleasant right hander is grinning. And why he's making everyone else grin, too.

Ramirez ran his record to 8-3 Friday night as the Rays finally found a spot of sunshine in a season that had turned gloomy. The Rays were only 3-15 in their previous 18 games coming into Friday night, but Ramirez changed all of that. Tampa Bay had only four hits behind him, and they didn't score until the bottom of the sixth. Still, Ramirez made it stand up.

He threw six innings and allowed only four hits. He has now won six of his last seven decisions. Not bad for a guy who wasn't thought to be that much when the Rays acquired him for Mike Montgomery before the season. In fact, Ramirez allowed 15 earned runs in his first two outings as a Ray over five innings, so it is fair to say that the expectations were not  huge. But Ramirez has allowed only seven runs in his last eight starts.

As far as support, Ramirez hasn't needed much. In eight of his 12 starts, Ramirez has received two or more runs of support. He is 7-0 in those games with 1.49 era.

This year, Ramirez has held left-handers to a batting average of .182.

Of course, it has helped that Ramirez has been on Kevin Cash's pitch-them-less program, which means to hope for six innings and then to get to the bullpen. It worked again, as Jake McGee, Kevin Jepson and Brad Boxberger finished the game by allowing only one hit.

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