It is the bottom of the third in the Yankees/Twins game, and Carlos Gomez is at the plate. Yankees starter Andy Pettitte throws him ball one. My immediate thought was, "Why are you throwing him balls? Don't you know he is a free swinger who has a crappy OBP?"
Gomez fouls off the next pitch with a big hack and shoots a bullet by first baseman Jason Giambi on the next one. Both swings looked strong. Maybe that is why Pettitte threw him a ball. He swings hard at strikes. With his horrible OBP, you make him do the same but at a ball. Unfortunately, he didn't swing at the ball.
Gomez is on first, and I'm anxious to see one of the games' fastest runners face-off against one of the game's best pick-off artists. Gomez takes his lead and looks ready. Pettitte throws over, but it is behind Gomez and Giambi can't get it. The errant throw rolls into the bullpen area and Gomez races to third.
The E1 doesn't measure Gomez' effect on the game, but it was there for my lying eyes. The next batter, 2B Alexi Casilla, singles home Gomez. At first, he is dancing like he is baiting Pettitte, he of the great pick-off move. That takes guts for a player of Casilla's caliber.
Joe Mauer hits one back to the box that Pettitte knocks down. Without seeing why, he looks to second but throws to first for the out. Replays show Casilla would have stole second off Pettitte. His jump was huge.
Then I begin to think Gomez may be rubbing off on Casilla, and maybe that accounted for his current behavior at first and the fact he has been very productive in 2008. If true, then Gomez is more of an asset than anyone has given him credit for so far. Who would have thought his energy was infectious?
By the time the 2008 season ends, I wonder how many pundits would be willing to trade Carlos Gomez straight-up for Johan Santana. I know I am way ahead of the pack in my appreciation of Gomez' skill set, but he looks like he is getting better every game. Johan Santana looks like he is no longer the pitcher who deserved a $139MM contract extension.
|2008 - Carlos Gomez||52||218||32||61||9||3||4||23||8||57||17||6||.280||.311||.404|
|2008 - Johan Santana||7-3||12||12||0||0||0||0||81.2||78||31||29||12||20||71||3.20||1.20|