Or a vacation to scenic upstate New York. I hear Rochester is lovely this time of year.
Way back in January when Gomez was a part of the Santana trade, I sadly noted that he had been rushed through the Mets farm system in just a few years. The upshot of all this? The minor leagues are where most pitchers learn to throw breaking pitches well. As such, the minor league hitters get to follow the same learning curve as the pitchers: trying to hit progressively better breaking pitches. The learning curve is priceless.
Since Gomez arrived in Minnesota, he has shown almost a complete inability to hit breaking pitches. When he had his now-famous near-dust-up with Cliff Lee last week, he later told reporters (referencing Lee), “It’s your job to do whatever, throw me 10 sliders in a row. If I strike out, OK. I get you next time. But don’t be mad when I bunt.”
At that time, I thought that was the right answer for him to give. But it seems like other teams have taken it to heart. Tonight, Gomez saw 10 sliders and just 9 fastballs. Wanna guess how many he put in play? 1, a lazy fly ball. How many times did he strike out tonight? 3, while going 0-for-5. He is now 0-for his last 19 (I think), with 7 strikeouts. The strikeouts don’t look too bad (for Gomez, that is. For everyone else, they are HORRIBLE), except when you consider the fact that he has hit about a half-dozen weak ground- and fly-outs. Since that day against Cleveland, Gomez has seen 52% breaking pitches (curves and sliders). That doesn’t include change-ups or 2-seam fastballs, both of which can have some serious movement.
Remember when, at the end of April, Gardy finally benched Gomez after he struck out four times in an 0-for-5 game? Its time to do the same. Gomez needs a break from major league breaking pitches. Either give him a day or two off or send him to a minor league camp where he can see some less impressive breaking pitches. Either that, or rig a pitching machine with a sandpaper wheel (which can tend to make pitches break uncontrollably, which is both dangerous and a lot like playing dodgeball).
Give the kid a break. If he’ll be lonely, I’m sure Delmon could be willing to join him. Delmon had another miserable night tonight, going 0-for-4, which, after 0-for-6 last night, puts him on a Gomez-esque tear. However, I’ll cut him some slack, but only because he has been on fire since the beginning of June.
Gomez, however, hasn’t hit consistently well since mid-May.
More Bullpen Beefs
* Why was an obviously flagging Perkins allowed to pitch to arguably one of the hottest players in the division? After he hit Granderson with a pitch to load the bases, why wasn’t he pulled at that time? The only reason I can come up with is that Crain wasn’t ready yet. Anyone know how long it takes for a reliever to warm up? By my watch, it was a full ten minutes from the time that the Tigers announcers first noted that the Twins bullpen was “heating up” (*grumble*). They showed the pen, and it was Crain at that point. My beef: Why not bring in someone (anyone) who has a chance to end the threat without the run scoring? As it was, Perkins gave up the sac fly to Polanco and the game went down to one run. Overall, though, Perkins pitched better than his overall numbers would have indicated he would.
*Crain is a big boy, he can pitch to more than one batter. ‘Nuff said.
*Guerrier did great, don’t get me wrong. But why did he replace Crain? Especially after throwing two innings yesterday (combined with the obvious fatigue he was showing over the weekend), why not give him a night off? Guerrier is a great reliever, but he isn’t a setup guy.
*Nathan, thanks for the lack of drama.