ST. LOUIS — If there’s a secret, Aramis Ramirez isn’t sharing.
“I don’t know,” the Milwaukee Brewers’ third baseman said after he went 3-for-5 against the Cardinals on Saturday.
“See the ball. Hit the ball. I guess,” Ramirez offered with a shrug.
Easier said than done, in most cases. But not for Ramirez, who sees and hits balls thrown by Cardinals pitchers better than just about anybody else in Major League Baseball. It’s a fact he has confirmed twice in as many nights, once loudly in a loss, and once quietly in victory.
On Friday, the 34-year-old hit two three-run homers against Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia. He became the sixth player in the last 10 years to notch at least two home runs and six RBIs against the Cardinals in one game. Despite his effort, his Brewers lost 7-6.
Then, a day later, Ramirez singled three times — he sent one ball to each section of the outfield — in the Brewers’ 10-inning, 6-4 win against the Cardinals. It marked the first time this season Ramirez has had back-to-back multi-hit games.
“I don’t know what the numbers are,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “When Rami is hitting the ball, it doesn’t seem to matter who it is. He is a great hitter. He’s got tons of history.”
Especially against the Cardinals.
Ramirez’s 16-year career has cycled through three teams (Pittsburgh, Chicago and Milwaukee) without ever leaving the N.L. Central. He has now faced the Cardinals 175 times. And when it comes to active players’ success against St. Louis, Ramirez is at or near the top of most lists. He is first in hits (206), tied for second in home runs (32) and tied for first in RBIs (118).
While the above numbers have grown over time, another stat shows how much of a nuisance Ramirez is to St. Louis right now. Before he went 3-for-5 on Saturday, he averaged .355/.402/.613 against current Cardinal arms.
Ramirez, like his manager, doesn’t commit these kinds of stats to memory. Instead, he describes a sense of comfort against the Cardinals, a confidence that has grown along with his success.
“You know when you do good against somebody,” Ramirez said. “Especially when you play them a lot.” Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred) and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org