Ramos locks down 18th save for Marlins

Closer endorsed by starter Fernandez for All-Star Game selection

Ramos locks down 18th save for Marlins

MIAMI -- If you ask Jose Fernandez, A.J. Ramos is an All-Star.

The Marlins' closer worked a clean ninth inning to nail down his Major League-tying 18th save in Sunday's 1-0 win over the Mets at Marlins Park. Ramos has converted his last 27 save opportunities, including 18 this year, a feat Fernandez believes merits a trip to San Diego.

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"I think that he deserves it," Fernandez said. "Being so close to him, seeing how hard he works, I think he should go to the All-Star Game. I do."

Despite no blown saves this season, not every appearance has been smooth with Ramos on the mound. Take his final batter on Sunday, for example. Neil Walker flied out to the center-field warning track on a 1-2 changeup that stayed up.

"It's funny, I either throw a lot of balls and just enough strikes, or too many strikes," Ramos said. "Today, I was throwing too many strikes. I was trying to throw that last ball, a changeup, out of the zone, and it stayed in the zone. Luckily, he didn't get it all."

Fernandez watched from the steps of the dugout as Marcell Ozuna hauled in the final out that sealed Fernandez's eighth straight win in as many starts, which tied a club record set by Chris Hammond in 1993. Ramos has saved six of those wins.

"I'd take him any day," Fernandez said. "I'd take him over any other person in the big leagues. He's my closer. He's the team closer. I have a lot of love and trust for him."

Ramos said the key to his success this season has been focusing more on pitching, rather than throwing. One way he does that is by mixing up fastball speeds.

"You've got to learn how to pitch because velo isn't always gonna beat hitters," Ramos said. "So if you learn to pitch with 92-93, and then gas it up later in the at-bat or earlier in the at-bat, it's another pitch. Throwing 91 is different than throwing 96. It's another thing that they have to look for."

With the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard still more than a month away, Ramos said he isn't thinking about the idea of representing Miami in San Diego. He's just concentrating on improving.

"There's still a lot to go until the All-Star break," Ramos said. "Based off right now, I think I could do a little bit better, especially with some of the outings I've had."

Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.