These are the kinds of things you look up once a player decides he’s going to get a hit every day for a week, then two, then three.
Did you know:
- That a hitting streak is not terminated if, during the course of a game, a player only draw walks (or hit-by-pitches)?
- That a hitting streak is not terminated if, in a player’s only plate appearance or appearances, he sacrifice bunts, or is victimized by defensive interference?
- That a hitting streak is terminated if, in a players only appearance or appearances, he hits into a sacrifice fly?
These are things that are rarely relevant when a player assembles a hitting streak higher than, say, 20 games because even the most stubborn manager is going to keep that player and his presumably smoking-hot bat in the lineup as long and as often as he possibly can.
But, then, most hitting streaks aren’t assembled by catchers.
And, thus, when someone like Wilson Ramos assembles such a streak in the heat of a pennant race, it matters. Though Ramos has played more than your average catcher — he’s on pace to squat 130 times this year, a Yadier Molina-esque number — he still has to sit at least once a week. In May, perhaps that guarantees a day off. In September, it means he will almost certainly be called upon to pinch hit, maybe only get one crack at extending the streak.
Ramos entered Sunday night’s game with the Phillies with a live 24-game hitting streak and there are two things that make that an especially interesting thing.
First: He was hitting .446 with a ridiculous 1.067 OPS during the stretch, meaning he wasn’t just on a hitting streak he was on a scorching streak, getting multiple hits in 11 of those games. Saturday was his third four-hit game in the streak.
Also: He didn’t start three of those games. Twice — Aug. 16 at Kansas City, Aug. 25 against the Braves at Citi Field — he singled in his only at-bat. On Friday in Philadelphia, he tied the game with a pinch-hit single in the seventh, then got two more at-bats when the Mets blew open the game in the eighth and ninth innings.
Now, here is the place where it’s a federal law to point out that, with only 27 games left in the season, the closest Ramos could come to Joe DiMaggio and his fabled 56-game streak is 51 before running out of season, and …
“I had 19 straight with the Nationals,” Ramos said Saturday when asked about how familiar he was with the magic number of 56. “As soon as I found out [the record] was 56, I said, ‘No way. No chance.’ ”
That’s a safe bet. But so is this: Ramos and his unlikely partner at the heart of the Mets’ batting order, J.D. Davis, and the bookend lefties in the bullpen (Justin Wilson and Luis Avilan) have helped salvage GM Brodie Van Wagenen’s first year on the job. For all the focus given to the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz deal with Seattle, and the still-hard-to-believe $30 million he gave Jeurys Familia (to say nothing about Jed Lowrie), Van Wagenen has been somewhat redeemed by these other deals.
Wilson and Avilan got the most important outs Saturday, and will be looked upon to be workhorses all across September. Ramos has been every bit the hitting machine for the Mets that he always was against them when he played for the Nationals. And Davis has been the biggest steal for the Mets in years. Despite a modest 6-for-34 (.176) slide his past nine games, Davis is still at .297 for the season and has been a critical part of the Mets’ attack, especially since Dom Smith went down in July.
All of these things force a recalibration of Van Wagenen’s early work. It has been uneven but it is proving to be less of the epic disaster it looked like at first.
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