The Phillies haven’t played their best baseball over the last week.
Since completing a four-game sweep of the Marlins on August 5th, the team has won just three of eight. Unfortunately for them, this has coincided with the Braves playing quite well, and a one-and-a-half-game division lead on August 5th now is a two-game deficit. It’s not the end of the world for Philly, as they still control the first Wild Card spot by decimal points in winning percentage, but it’s certainly not the ideal scenario.
Last night, though, things may have changed for Gabe Kapler’s club.
On July 31, general manager Matt Klentak made one of the most interesting trades at the deadline, as he acquired catcher Wilson Ramos from the Rays for a player to be named later. In other words, he acquired Ramos for virtually nothing of significant value. Why was this the case? Ramos, at the time, was sitting on the disabled list with left hamstring tightness, his timetable uncertain.
At the time, Ramos said himself that he would only need about two weeks to fully recover. Klentak, however, pumped the breaks on Ramos’ comments, saying that he might need until September to be ready for game action. The team seemingly was preparing for a worst-case scenario.
But just 15 days after the Phillies made the deal for him, Ramos joined the lineup. And he made quite the immediate impact.
The Phillies offense had been scuffling in the games following the All-Star break. As a group, the team hit just .226/.302/.391 in 23 games. Since August 1st, Phillies hitters had just a .613 OPS. Ramos was needed as an offensive boost.
And he came through.
In his first start in Philadelphia, Ramos went three-for-four with two doubles and his first triple since 2011. The Phillies, taking on the MLB-best Red Sox, erased an early 3-0 Boston lead and ultimately won the game, 7-4. Ramos had three RBIs and three runs scored. He was virtually the entire offense in a game that the Phillies desperately needed to win.
If Ramos’ night sounds impressive, it certainly was. Here are a few interesting facts from his evening:
- Ramos played 727 career games for the Nationals, Rays, and Twins. He had zero games with three extra-base hits. In his first game for the Phillies, he had three-extra base hits.
- Prior to Ramos’ offensive outburst, Phillies catchers had just three games with multiple extra-base hits this season.
- Ramos became the first Phillies catcher since Mike Lieberthal in 1998 to have two doubles and a triple in the same game.
- Since RBIs were first recorded in 1920, no Phillies player ever had three extra-base hits and three RBIs in their team debut.
- Ramos had just the fifth game with seven or more total bases by a Phillies catcher since 2016, the end of the Carlos Ruiz era.
It was only one game, but it looks like Wilson Ramos might just be throwing an extra wrench into what is shaping up to be a very fun NL East division race.
Devan Fink is a Featured Writer for Beyond The Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter @DevanFink.