Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer, left, and catcher Yan Gomes, right, meet on the mound in the third inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, June 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
CLEVELAND — No one could have gotten of to a worse start fielding than Yan Gomes. In the first 28 games he played, the Indians catcher committed nine errors, had four passed balls and opponents stole 18 of 23 bases.
Since early May though, Gomes has started to look more like he did last year, when he was one of the top catchers in the American League in getting opposing baserunners.
In Friday’s 6-4 loss to Detroit, Gomes got two Tigers attempting to steal and this week has thrown out five of six. Of the past 24 who have tried to steal a base, Gomes has caught 11. Going into tonight’s game he is second in the American League with 16 caught stealings.
Gomes hasn’t committed an error in past 23 games and hasn’t had a past ball in his past 26.
"I just kept trying to play my game. I wasn’t going to stop being aggressive throwing," said Gomes on the improvements. "I’m just making better throws."
The first couple weeks of the season Gomes was a little too quick on making throws to second but he has made some improvements in his footwork, which has made a difference. As Terry Francona noted, sometimes Gomes got out there so quick that it didn’t give a chance for someone to get to second.
"Now he’s back to being that force and it is a nice feeling. When we’re looking at baserunners and ways they can attack us he has such a good arm and such good feet," Francona said. "We’ve pitched out very little but he’s toward the higher end of the league in throwing (guys out)."
AXFORD’S STRUGGLES: J.D. Martinez’s home run during the eighth inning marked the third home run that John Axford has given up in his last 20 appearances.
Axford, who recorded nine saves in his first 13 appearances, has struggled since then. In his last 20, the right-hander has allowed 10 earned runs in 17 2/3 innings with 15 walks and 24 strikeouts.
Since Axford lost his closer’s spot on May 10, Francona has talked about him winning it back, but Cody Allen has converted seven of eight opportunities.
Said Francona of Axford: "There is some frustration on his part. He wants to be in the closer’s role and I don’t blame him. I feel responsibility to do what is in our team’s best interest. We’re best situated keeping it the way it is."
GIAMBI UPDATE: Francona said that Jason Giambi, who has been on the disabled list since June 12 with inflammation in his left knee, is doing fine. Giambi is eligible to come off the DL during the upcoming eight-game road trip.
DRAFT SIGNING: The Indians announced the signing of fourth-round pick Sam Hentges. The right-handed pitcher from Mounds View High School in St. Paul, Minn., is the 26th of the team’s 42 selections to sign, including 13 of the top 15.