Adjustments get Hanley back on track
MIAMI — What a difference two days can make.
For Hanley Ramirez, it’s made a dramatic difference. Showing how quickly numbers can escalate early in the season, the Marlins third baseman raised his batting average from .133 to .282 in two days.
Since going 0-for-5 on Friday against the Astros, much has changed. Ramirez got rid of the red-orange hair, coloring it black. That’s the cosmetic change. The actual baseball adjustment, Ramirez credits to hitting coach Eduardo Perez.Working with Perez, Ramirez lowered his hands a bit at the plate and moved them closer to his body.
It’s hard to argue with the results since.
Ramirez went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer and a walk-off single in the 11th inning to help lift the Marlins to a 5-4 win over the Astros on Sunday at Marlins Park.
On Saturday, the first day with the new hair and altered swing, he was 3-for-4.
So after going 7-for-9 the past two days, Ramirez’s season average raised to .282.
What the Marlins are starting to see is the Hanley of old.
Last year, he was injury-plagued, and Ramirez’s numbers reflected that he wasn’t healthy. In the first half, he was hindered by a lower back injury, and he missed the final two months after undergoing left shoulder surgery.
The fact that Ramirez is hitting .282 after 10 games is a positive sign, especially when you consider his batting average never was that high after any game for all of last year.
Due to a slow start, Ramirez reached a high of .256 on April 14, and he finished at .243.
Ramirez had no homers and nine RBIs in April last year. He’s already at two homers and seven RBIs. Actually, his numbers should be a bit better. If not for strong wind conditions at Philadelphia and on Friday night at Marlins Park, he would likely have two more homers to center. Instead, those long drives were both loud outs.
Ramirez’s blast on Sunday was estimated at 443 feet by ESPN’s Home Run Tracker. It’s the fifth longest shot in the big leagues this season.
For Ramirez, Sunday’s walk-off hit was the second of his career. And now the Marlins are the first team since the 1995 Rockies to open their new ballpark with their first two wins being in walk-off fashion.
– Joe Frisaro