Sunday, August 31, 2008 - Ramirez’s Late Inning Lumber
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Ramirez’s Late Inning Lumber
Rami's The Cubs' Biggest Stick
By Sarah Spain
Love of Sports Correspondent
Thursday night, Aramis Ramirez powered the Cubs to a comeback win over the Phillies with an eighth inning grand slam.
The Cubs' sixth straight win put them at 34 games over .500 and gave manager Lou Piniella something to smile about on his 65th birthday. Wrigley Field was rockin' as the Northsiders moved even further atop the N.L. standings.
Nearly every man on the Cubs roster has played the hero at some point during this magical season. From Alfonso Soriano's solo shot to beat the Phillies on Friday, to Daryle Ward's ninth inning three-run pinch hit job to beat the Marlins in mid-August, all the way back to Ronny Cedeno's five-RBI performance in a big 8-1 victory over the Mets in April.
This team's shown itself to be full of gamers. But of all of the Cubs' clutch performers, no one's been bigger in big situations than Ramirez.
After Thursday's game, Ramirez spoke to reporters about his late inning heroics. "I've been able to do that since the minor leagues," he said. "I've always been able to drive in runs. It's something I'm proud of, and I like to be in that situation late in the game."
As of Saturday afternoon, Ramirez had 100 RBI on the year, 45 of which came in the seventh inning or later. That means 45 PERCENT — nearly half for those of you not big on math — of his RBI have come late in games, when they matter the most.
Ramirez, who leads the Cubs in RBI, is now tied with Carlos Lee for third-most RBI in the NL behind Ryan Howard and David Wright.
Still not impressed? How 'bout this for a stat? Ramirez has 24 home runs this year, and 11 of them have come in the seventh inning or later. Yup, that means 45 percent of his long balls have come in the clutch, too.
As the Cubs look to put the past — and their supposed curses — behind them, they can rest assured that with Ramirez in the lineup, no game is over until the final out is recorded.