Jonny Gomes hit his first home run tonight since April 17th. His average had fallen to the .180′s and talk radio in Cincinnati was beginning to swirl with calls for Chris Heisey and Fred Lewis to play at least as much if not more than Jonny Gomes.
So far in 2011, Jonny Gomes is swinging at just 23.6% of pitches outside of the strike zone which is way below the 37% of balls outside of the strike zone that he swung at last season. After walking just 13 times last season, Gomes has shown a much greater willingness to take a walk and be patient at the plate.
Gomes is also swinging and missing at only 9.6% of pitches this season which is down from 13% swings and misses last season. Gomes recent struggles at the plate have manifested themselves because of Gomes struggles to hit both a slider and curveball. Anything that is not a fastball has been tough for Gomes so far this season.
His contact rate vs. curveballs and sliders are way down from last season to this season. He is seeing only 54% fastballs which is well below the league average for most batters. Reds fans as well as Dusty Baker and hitting coach Brook Jacoby are hoping that tonights homer is a sign of things to come for Gomes. He also drove the ball well in his next at-bat despite flying out.
Gomes said after tonight’s game, “When you are struggling pressure situations always seem to find you.” Dusty Baker is sticking by his player just like he did with Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs when they struggled at times in 2011. Needless to say, both Bruce and Stubbs have helped this team a lot at the end of last season and so far in 2011.
Below is posted some of Gomes sabermetric stats from so far in 2011. Notice that Gomes is striking out 26.4% of the time in 2011 compared to just 21% in 2010.
Jonny Gomes is walking 15.7% of the time which is far above the 6.8% from 2010.
Finally, Gomes BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is just .208 compared to .311 from last season. Obviously, Gomes has been a victim of some bad luck, but his fly ball rate suggests that he needs to put the ball on the ground and on a line more to give himself a chance. Too many fly ball outs is the reason for Gomes struggles in the BABIP department, and only starting to see the ball better will give him relief there.
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