Covering the Bases: Game 35
Some notes and quotes from Monday’s 15-6 win over the Reds.
FIRST: Five days ago, Yan Gomes was mired in one of the worst slumps of his career. The catcher was swinging at pitches he normally doesn’t chase, the power had disappeared and he could not buy a hit to save his life.
“I know I can hit,” Gomes said. “It’s just been one of those things that my confidence has definitely got ahold of me. When you get to look up there and you’re not seeing the numbers you’re really wanting to put up, it definitely gets frustrating.”
One step at a time. Or, one home run at a time, apparently.
Gomes ended an 0-for-20 skid with a home run on Friday night. The catcher then belted another homer on Saturday. Following a day off on Sunday, Gomes did it again. In the sixth inning against the Reds, he launched a three-run shot. Three homers in three games for the first time in his career.
And Gomes’ confidence is surely up a few ticks.
“We need him offensively,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Like we’ve been saying: He will get hot. Just as cold as he was, he will get just that hot. The good news for us is, even though he’s hitting whatever, he’s got a lot of RBI. So whatever hits he’s
getting, they seem to come up with people on base.”
Gomes had four RBI on Monday night. Three on the long ball and one more on a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Over his past three games, Gomes has gone 4-for-11 at the plate with seven RBI. In his previous 11 games, he was in a 2-for-42 drought with no home runs and just two RBI.
“It’s just a matter of putting in the work before and letting it work out in the game,” Gomes said. “I’ve been a slow starter for the last few years. It comes to a point where you’re trying to be productive in any way you can, and I’ve definitely tried to do something.
“And you’ve just got to know your confidence can’t go away.”
SECOND: This night wasn’t just about Gomes, though.
After falling behind by four runs by the third inning, Cleveland finally hit the gas. The Indians scored four in the third, three in the fourth, five in the sixth and then three between the eighth and ninth. Ten players had at least one hit. Seven had multi-hit games. Five scored at least twice.
This was an overwhelming evening for the lineup.
“I think we needed that,” Gomes said.
No kidding. One game ago, Cleveland went 7-for-16 with two outs, but didn’t score a single run.
Here’s what the Tribe 9 did tonight:
Rajai Davis: 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 BB
Jason Kipnis: 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 SH
Francisco Lindor: 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 2B
Mike Napoli: 2-for-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Carlos Santana: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SF
Yan Gomes: 2-for-4, 1 R, 4 RBI, 1 HR, 1 SF
Jose Ramirez: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 2B
Marlon Byrd: 3-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR
Juan Uribe: 1-for-5, 1 R
“That was good for a number of reasons,” Francona said. “A lot of guys relaxed a bit. It
was real good. We could always used those kind of games.”
THIRD: The big night for the lineup pushed Cody Anderson’s abbreviated outing to the background. That said, Cleveland has to be weighing what it can do to try to get the big right-hander going again.
Anderson lasted only 4.1 innings and was charged with six runs on nine hits, including a pair of home runs. The starter gave up nine homers in 91.1 innings as a rookie last year. So far this season, 10 homers in 32.2 innings. Anderson’s 2.76 HR/9 rate is currently the second-highest in the Majors, among pitchers with at least 30 innings. Chris Young of the Royals is first (or last, really) in that category with a 3.62 HR/9 (13 HR allowed in 32.1 IP).
Francona pointed out that the park was “playing small,” but it has seemingly played small all season for Anderson. The one thing I will say about tonight’s homers is that the pitches were not terrible. This did seem more like a time when good hitting was more of the cause, rather than extremely bad location.
For example, let’s start with the one-out solo homer that Adam Duvall hit in the second inning. It was an 0-2 fastball that zipped in at 93 mph. This was a case of elevation by design and Duvall sent the high heater out to left field.
Said Anderson: “A fastball up around the neck. That’s pretty tough to hit out.”
In the third inning, Anderson started Eugenio Suarez off with a 91-mph cutter. It was low and inside, but the Reds third baseman sent it out to center field for a two-run shot.
“The ballpark was playing awfully small tonight,” Francona said. “The home run to center, I did not think was a home run.”
But, it was. Just as the nine others before it were home runs.
“We have all been asking ourselves the same thing,” Francona said in reference to Anderson’s struggles. “The velocity is very good. I think at times his command is probably the biggest difference from what’s been allowing him to succeed or not.”
HOME: In a back-and-forth game like Monday’s you never know how critical an early play will be when the smoke clears. In the fourth inning, runners were on the corners (Davis on first) with two outs for Kipnis, who singled to right-center field.
Davis was off to the races and reached the plate at the same moment as the relay throw. Reds catcher Ramon Cabrera gloved the ball and spun to make the tag, while Davis ran awkwardly by him and dropped down over the plate.
With his momentum carrying him forward, Davis actually dragged his right foot across the plate as Cabrera swung and missed with tag attempt. Home-plate umpire Paul Emmel ruled Davis out, but that call was overturned after another successful challenge by Francona and replay coordinator Mike Barnett.
“Rajai wanted to slide, but he got his feet mixed up,” Francona said. “He actually did a really good job touching the plate. Such a heads-up job. … He’s quick and his willingness to get somewhere — he allowed that to happen. That was a big play in the game.”
Stay tuned for more…