MILWAUKEE — AJ Ramos is not a coward, he says, and has never been a coward. So don’t expect him to crumple when faced with the worst stretch of his career, including three runs in two-thirds of an inning Saturday as the Mets lost to the Brewers.
Ramos’ ERA rose to 6.41.
“I haven’t had any breaks. I haven’t given myself the best opportunity to succeed,” Ramos said. “When I’ve thrown strikes, they’ve been up or I’m just throwing strikes not to throw balls sometimes. You know what I mean? When you’re doing that, you get beat with these guys. They’re looking for that, they’re looking for any kind of weakness. It hasn’t been good.
“I want to get back out there tomorrow. There’s no way to get out of something like this but to pitch. The more you sit and think about it, the more you analyze it or overanalyze it, the worse it gets. Because you start to create stories in your head.”
Callaway turned to Ramos in the fifth — his earliest appearance in seven major-league seasons — a day after Ramos lost the game with a walk-off walk. Ramos retired his first two batters, then gave up a home run to Erik Kratz (a light-hitting catcher making his major-league season debut), a single to Dan Jennings (a reliever), a walk to Lorenzo Cain and a double to Christian Yelich.
Ramos said there was no mechanical or mental difference between his effective at-bats and ineffective ones.
“He’s a confident kid. He takes things the right way,” said Callaway, who declined to reveal the message of a pregame meeting with Ramos and pitching coach Dave Eiland. “He’s accountable when he doesn’t pitch good. He’s struggled before, and he’ll bounce out of it and he has bounced out of it [previously] and I think he’ll bounce out of it again.”
Before the game, Callaway said Ramos’ issues — an inability Friday and other times this year to find the strike zone — stemmed from a poor mindset.
“I don’t think he struggles with the ability to throw the ball in the zone when his mind is right,” Callaway said. “I’m sure he goes in the bullpen, he throws a strike whenever he wants. You have to take that same mindset into the game and know your stuff is good enough. Know you can execute pitches. And you have to go out there and do it.”
Asdrubal Cabera “tweaked” one of his knees Saturday, Callaway said. The Mets’ second baseman left in the eighth in favor of pinch hitter Luis Guillorme, after he was slow to get up following a play at second and was checked on by a trainer in the dugout.
Callaway said Cabrera could have continued playing, but since the game was a blowout, it made sense to take him out. Cabrera is penciled into Sunday’s lineup.
Todd Frazier (strained left hamstring) said he will travel with the team to Atlanta on Sunday night, so he isn’t quite ready for a rehab assignment. He remains pleased with his baseball activity, which he had another full day of Saturday . . . Jose Reyes (.153) had two RBIs Saturday, double what he had all season entering the day. With Amed Rosario getting a day off, Callaway said he gave Reyes the start at shortstop over Guillorme because: “Reyes is our best option at short when Rosey’s not out there . . . I think Guillorme is obviously surehanded. But we have to take the whole game into consideration. We signed Reyes to do this job and he’s still on our team.”