Hanley Ramirez HRs Protect Red Sox Lead

Boston is still celebrating Hanley’s Thursday night homer. His 3-run blast in the bottom of the 9th lifted the Red Sox over the New York Yankees. For many, it signaled the renewal of the Red Sox and Yankee rivalry. That rivalry isn’t as intense anymore. Boston’s lead in the AL East, however, sets up another potential showdown for the division title. While Hanley Ramirez HRs protect Red Sox lead in the A.L.East, other players on the team are contributing to Boston’s success, too.

The Red Sox are finally getting into that groove they lost in June. BackHanley Ramirez HRs protect then, their pitching staff dominated the American League, their hitting imitated other teams, and their tight grip on first place left other teams feeling hopeless. But then we fell out of first place and didn’t regain it until recently. But that’s all changed. David Price, while not pitching exactly the way we expected, now has over 200 strikeouts this season. Rick Porcello has emerged as perhaps the Red Sox best pitcher in the rotation. Ortiz is maintaining his hitting. Mookie Betts is in the running for an MVP. And last, but not least, Hanley Ramirez has hit 17 home runs with 52 RBI since the All-Star break. Ramirez has not only redeemed himself after a dismal 2015 season, but he’s emerged as the likely successor to David Ortiz.

Hanley Ramirez HRs protect the Red Sox, But For How Long?

While Boston is on their hottest streak so far this season, now isn’t the time to coast. If anything, now’s the time to buckle down. Porcello, despite his setback last Wednesday, is still an ace. However, if he’s going to get the run support he needs, the team has to learn how to stop leaving so many runners on base. The Red Sox still tend to get stick in mid-game ruts where it seems like they give up on a possible victory. That needs to stop.

As the Red Sox go into the final weeks of the season, they have to closely study their opponents to find weaknesses they can take advantage of. Not only for the sake of the team, but for the sake of grabbing another World Series Championship.

How Many Home Runs Will Hanley Ramirez Hit?

Hanley Ramirez

On Wednesday night, Hanley Ramirez received a flat, 78-mph knuckleball from R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays, and, with one trademark, helmet-dislodging swing, launched a long home run over the Green Monster in left field. It was the 10th homer of the season for Ramirez, tying him with Seattle’s Nelson Cruz for the Major League lead, and equaling David Ortiz’s 2006 record for most round-trippers by a Red Sock before May 1st.

Naturally, when a player achieves something only done once before in franchise history, Hanley Ramirezpeople begin to take notice. In the case of Ramirez, fans instantly began to wonder about the sustainability of his incredible pace, with many attempting to project just how many home runs he could possibly hit this season.

On a purely mathematical level, Hanley is currently on pace to hit 77 home runs, through a full 162-game slate. This, of course, would break the all-time single season record of 73, set by Barry Bonds in 2001. Obviously, that just isn’t going to happen. Eventually, pitchers will adjust to Ramirez, who, undoubtedly, will experience slumps throughout the season, as is the failure-based nature of baseball.

Moreover, Hanley has typically struggled to remain healthy for a full season and, in recent years, the left fielder has required occasional days off to rest his ageing body. For instance, in the past four full seasons, Ramirez has played 115 games on average, due to injury and subsequently cautious management of his playing time.

Interestingly, at his current pace, Hanley would hit 54 home runs through 115 games played, which, of course, would equal the Red Sox single-season record, set by Ortiz in 2006. However, such a figure seems unlikely in the long run of a Major League season. Ramirez can be a very streaky hitter, and his aggressive approach may lead to more strikeouts once pitchers begin to catch up in mid-season.

But, in the spirit of fair argument, it is important to point out that, through April, Hanley showed a large increase in line-drive percentage (33%) compared with his career average (21%), and currently has a batting average right around .300 despite a BABIP in the low .230s. This suggests that, in the early going, Ramirez has been a flat-out better hitter than what he was in recent seasons; perhaps better in April 2015 than he has been at any point throughout his career.

Hanley Ramirez

Furthermore, 30.3% of Hanley’s fly balls this season have resulted in home runs, which, considering the league average of 9.5%, is quite astonishing, and indicates his fresh determination to take advantage of the famous left field wall at Fenway, which can convert even the laziest of flies into a homer. Whilst, overall, Ramirez has hit better on the road this year, his swing has seemingly been transformed due to the temptation of the Green Monster, with 80% of his home runs so far going to left field, compared with 53% last season, which he spent with the Dodgers.

Therefore, where pitchers adjusting and Hanley slumping may detract from his ultimate home run total in 2015, a new pull approach and the friendly confines of Fenway may make up the difference. Thus, while Bonds’ record won’t come under threat, and Ortiz’s franchise mark should remain intact, Hanley Ramirez, health-permitting, may well hit between 45 and 50 home runs this year, which would be one of the top five home run-hitting seasons in Red Sox history.