All season, the Mets have stuck by and with Wilson Ramos in calling him their starting catcher, even during stretches when the playing-time allotment didn’t necessarily agree and when Ramos wasn’t the obvious better option.
On Saturday, amid a run in which Ramos has rewarded the Mets’ faith with increased offensive production, the team’s commitment to the backstop took a noteworthy step forward: He caught Noah Syndergaard for the first time since June 15, and the result was a 4-3 victory..
In each of Syndergaard’s previous seven starts, Tomas Nido started at catcher. Syndergaard had a 2.74 ERA in that span — and has a 2.40 ERA with Nido this season, compared to 4.69 with Ramos. The Mets explained the Syndergaard-Nido pairing as a way to get Syndergaard into a groove, with Nido adept at framing pitches low in and below the zone and Syndergaard frequently throwing there.
Now, with Syndergaard indeed in that groove, Ramos got the nod against Nationals lefthander Patrick Corbin.
“It’s something that he’s preparing every day for,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “He understands what’s at stake, especially now, and he wants to play. We’ll continue to allow that as long as he’s preparing, and it seems like he’s in a good spot physically.”
Regarding that good spot physically: Ramos has a history of injuries, including a strained left hamstring in 2018 and a torn ACL that cost him parts of 2016 and 2017. This year, Ramos has largely avoided physical issues, and the Mets have been increasingly comfortable riding him. That includes starting him in day games after night games, rare for catchers.
It helps that Ramos has been mashing lately. His .267/.339/.402 slash line heading into play Saturday was only about league average, but he was tied for first among catchers with 58 RBIs. In his prevous five games, Ramos was hitting .450 (9-for-20) with two homers and nine RBIs.
He homered in the fourth inning Saturday night off Corbin, just two pitches after J.D. Davis went deep. Ramos nearly went yard again in the eighth, but his drive deep to right-center was caught at the wall by Nats centerfielder Victor Robles.
“Our team ERA’s been great, and he’s been catching four out of every five games since we’ve made this run,” Callaway said. “So we want him out there leading our pitching staff as many times as possible.”
Doolittle doing little
The Mets’ walk-off win Friday against Nationals closer Sean Doolittle was the latest in a series of such meltdowns by Doolittle against the Mets.
In seven games (six innings) against them, Doolittle has allowed 10 earned runs (15.00 ERA). He has blown three saves. Against everybody else, he has allowed nine earned runs in 42 2/3 innings (1.90 ERA).
“It seems like we’ve been laid-back and relaxed and just understand that all we can do is go up there and take a good approach and see what happens,” Callaway said. “You have to commend these guys for taking the right approach and not pressing and understanding that it’s going to take a team effort to do something like we did (Friday) night.”
In other Ramos news: He turned 32 on Saturday. When he arrived at Citi Field, he found several “50” balloons waiting for him by his locker. He vowed to find the perpetrator … Callaway on Michael Conforto’s consistent demeanor: “You can’t tell if he’s slumping or hitting, and that’s a valuable asset.” … Pete Alonso gifted his teammates — and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen — “LFGM” T-shirts. The Mets’ new rallying cry, made popular by Alonso, is an extension of the “LGM” abbreviation of “Let’s go Mets.” Marcus Stroman, Edwin Diaz, J.D. Davis and Amed Rosario were wearing their shirts during a team workout Saturday. Alonso said Van Wagenen loved his.