Hanley Ramirez

Source of Hanley Ramirez's problems? Pitchers 'watched me the first month'

Rob Bradford
May 27, 2015 - 1:54 pm

MINNEAPOLIS -- Hanley Ramirez isn't blaming his recent struggles on his banged up left shoulder. And neither are the Red Sox decision-makers. So, if it's not that, then what is it? This is a hitter that hit .293 with a .999 OPS, 10 home runs and 22 RBI in April. Thus far this month his average sits at .210 for May, while carrying a .511 OPS, not a single homer and just one RBI. "Just work to June," he said after going 0-for-3 in the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Twins Wednesday. "That's it." Besides bad luck -- "I mean, I keep hitting line drive outs to people. I can't control that. And I've been doing that for, I mean, the whole month. Just right at people," he said -- Ramirez believes a big part of the issue is how careful opposing pitchers are approaching him. The Twins' pitchers did pound the inside part of the plate against Ramirez throughout a series he came away with just one hit and one walk in 12 plate appearances. And those balls he did put in play were done so without extending his arms, forcing most of his contact to center and right field. "I mean, I've got a strike zone. Most of the pitches they've thrown me inside are balls. I'm not supposed to pull that," Ramirez said. "I hit it back up the middle, that's my approach. Back up the middle. If you start opening your front shoulder and keep chasing, I'm not changing my approach. So it is what it is. I'm not getting any mistakes right now. They're just pounding the black of the plate." When asked if pitchers were approaching him differently than in April, Ramirez was quick with an answer. "Yeah, yeah. No mistakes," he said. "On the black, everything. They watched me the first month. They don't want me to hurt them. Just keep fighting every at-bat and every game, you know? I'm not going to quit. Keep going out there and compete." They not only need Ramirez to compete, but they really need him to be closer the presence he was earlier in the season. "I mean, what I learned through the years, man, that's the season, that's how it goes, up and down, up and down," he said. "One day you're hot, one day you go in a slump. You've got to try to stay there, fighting every day til you get hot again. As a team, we're not playing good right now. We've got to keep going out there, man, and I think Pedroia, man, he's keeping everybody awake here. You watch him every day go out there and play hard, it's what we're trying to do."