Nationals have problems stopping Ramirez

Ever since he was traded from the Red Sox to the Marlins after the 2005 season, shortstop Hanley Ramirez has been almost unstoppable against the Nationals. Entering the 2009 season, Ramirez was hitting .341 with 14 home runs and 31 RBIs against them. Those numbers were the best against any National League East club.

On Monday, Washington’s problems continued against Ramirez, for he went 2-for-3 with five RBIs, including a grand slam in the sixth inning off right-hander Steven Shell.

“This guy is one of the elite players in the league,” manager Manny Acta said. “There is a reason he is the face of this franchise. He is great hitter who can do it all on the field.”

So how can the Nationals stop Ramirez? Pitching coach Randy St. Claire has the answer.

“You have to make pitches,” St Claire said. “For me, we pitch him very poorly. We make a lot of mistakes and he doesn’t miss those mistakes. [When Shell gave up the grand slam], that was supposed to be a curveball down and away.  You look at it on replay, it was up and in. You can’t make mistakes like that. We just pitch him very poorly. We give him way too many pitches to hit.”

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