MILWAUKEE -- When the Brewers signed third baseman Aramis Ramirez before the season, they hoped he could help replace the production they lost when Prince Fielder went to Detroit. Now more than 100 games into the season, manager Ron Roenicke said Ramirez has done just about everything he could have hoped for. "I thought he was going to be good, and I think he's very good," Roenicke said. "Production sometimes depends on what's happening in front of you, and the opportunities you get. But when it's on the line, when you need a hit, he has definitely been one of the guys that I think comes through a lot in big situations."
Entering Wednesday, Ramirez was batting .295 with 70 RBIs, good for second on the team behind Ryan Braun (74). He also led the National League in extra-base hits (54) and was tied for the Major League lead in doubles (37). Ramirez has been particularly hot in the second half of the season. Known to be a relatively slow starter, Ramirez headed into Wednesday's game batting .370 with six home runs and 25 RBIs since the beginning of July. He had recorded a hit in nine straight games that he started and hadn't gone two straight games without a base knock since June 25-26. "I just try to put the barrel on the ball," Ramirez said. "I haven't had as many home runs as I'm used to, but I'm still driving the ball, so that's a good sign." Tuesday marked Ramirez's 100th game of the season. He connected on his second home run in as many games to give him 15 on the season. In the same amount of games last season, he had 19 home runs, but his batting average and RBI numbers are both better than at the same point last year. Roenicke said Ramirez would be having "some kind of year" if he had started the way he's playing now. He also said the Brewers still miss Fielder in a lot of ways -- particularly his clutch bat, 38 home runs and big personality -- but Ramirez brings some things to the table that the slugging first baseman did not. "I think trying to figure out how to replace [Fielder], I think Aramis has done a great job in replacing what we needed for this team to go offensively and have a No. 4 hitter," Roenicke said. "And he's been good defensively, so we have a plus that way, too."