Gambling on Gomes, Infuriating Inning Ignites Indians

Travis Wood retired the first batter he faced in the bottom of the 6th inning. The Reds held a 4-0 lead and Wood was working on a no hitter (again!), having faced the minimum number of batters possible. The following 6 Indians’ hitters reached based, cutting the Reds’ lead to 4-2, and forcing Travis Wood out of the game with the bases loaded. Typically-reliable Logan Ondrusek entered the game and proceeded to allow the tying runs to score, one of which he forced in with a walk. In the blink of an eye, Travis Wood went from possible no-hitter to a 5.1 IP, 4 ER performance.

The Indians broke the tie in the bottom of the 8th inning. Bill Bray breezed through the first two batters he faced, then allowed a 2-out triple to Shin-Soo Choo (great name by the way). After an intentional walk to slumping-but-talented Carlos Santana, Nick Massett came on in relief. The Indians then called on Ezequiel Carrera, who had been called up from AAA just hours prior, to pinch hit for Shelley Duncan. In the first MLB pitch of his career, Carrera placed a perfect bunt towards first base and reached base safely, driving in the go-ahead run. It appeared as though Carrera left the base-path to avoid a tag from Joey Votto, however the Reds didn’t argue.

Trailing by a run in the top of the 9th, Fred Lewis provided some hope by reaching base via a walk to open the inning. Drew Stubbs followed by punishing a ball to right-center that Shin-Soo Choo reached to record an out. Jonny Gomes then hit a soft-liner to the pitcher, and Fred Lewis was doubled off first. The double-play ended the game, with reigning NL MVP Joey Votto on deck…

Gambling on Gomes

During the radio broadcast of tonight’s game, John Fay speculated that this weekend could prove pivotal for Jonny Gomes: put-up-or-shut-up time. Gomes has been absolutely terrible at the plate this year (.176/.314/.384). Even the most vocal opponents of Jonny Gomes wouldn’t have predicted numbers like that. Still, his poor performance at the plate shouldn’t be surprising.Jonny Gomes is a platoon player. It’s plain and simple. We have an 8 year MLB career, 700 games, and 2,503 plate appearances to prove it. The sample is large enough, and extreme enough to understand that Gomes should be used almost exclusively against left-handed pitchers.

Consider the following infomation:

Jonny Gomes – Career Splits:
vs LHP – .277 AVG / .373 OBP / .511 SLG / .883 OPS
vs RHP – .228 AVG / .308 OBP / .432 SLG / .739 OPS

Scott Rolen has an OPS of .866 over his entire career. So, when Jonny Gomes faces left-handed pitchers, you get Scott Rolen at the plate.

Ryan Freel posted a career OPS of .732. When Gomes faces right-handed pitching, you get Ryan Freel without the speed.

Sure, most hitters have more success against opposite-handed pitchers. But splits like this are uncommon for an “everyday” right-handed hitter, considering that the vast majority of pitchers are right handed. Though the exact number various, approximately 70% of MLB pitchers are right-handed.

Dusty Baker has all of this information at his disposal, yet Jonny Gomes was penciled into tonight’s lineup as the DH, hitting 2nd in front of the National League’s reigning MVP Joey Votto – with a RHP starting for the Indians.

Let’s hope that John Fay was right, and this weekend series in Cleveland is Gomes’ last opportunity save his role as the “everyday” left-fielder. We can only hope that Dusty is finally coming to the realization that Jonny Gomes is the hitting equivalent of Daniel Ray Herrera, with a warning sign that reads, “ONLY TO BE USED AGAINST LEFTIES.”