Indians’ Gomes putting together more consistent at-bats
CLEVELAND — Terry Francona talks so much about Yan Gomes’ leadership behind the plate that one can tend to overlook what Gomes can add offensively. After all, Gomes did win the Silver Slugger last season.
However over the past five games Gomes has begun to give the Tribe a lift with his bat. He has eight hits in his last 20 at-bats and along with the second multi-homer game of his career in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Seattle.
Since returning from the disabled list, Gomes is batting .256 in 11 games.
"We’ve talked about it all along, when the bat comes it’ll be nice for us. And he works so damn hard at it, he just grinds away because he wants to be so good,’ manager Terry Francona said.
Gomes had just three hits in his first 23 at-bats after coming off the DL three weeks ago and admitted that he was getting frustrated over the slow start. The focus over the past week though has been about putting together more consistent at-bats.
"I’m trying so hard to try to take care of my defense, but then sometimes, no matter who you are, you’re going to try to help the team out with your swings. And I think that’s where my frustration was coming from, but you know, it’s one of those things," he said. "This game, no matter how hard you hit the ball, sometimes you hit it right at people."
Gomes’ improvement at the plate also coincides with him becoming a regular part of the lineup again. When he came off the DL on March 24, Francona had him playing every other day for the first 10-11 days. Gomes has been the Indians’ starting catcher six of the past seven games including the last four.
Both of Gomes’ homers were crushed to left-center. The first one came on a fastball off Roenis Ellis and was his first homer since Sept. 24 of last season against Kansas City. In the ninth, he hit a Carson Smith slider deep.
Of Gomes’ 38 career home runs, six have come against Seattle, including both multi-homer games. That is his most against a non-division opponent.
An offensive spark from Gomes should help bolster the bottom of the Indians’ lineup, which has struggled. The six through nine spots in the order are batting .216, which is tied for the fifth-worst average in the majors. Mike Aviles and Michael Bourn have seemingly been the only ones to consistently produce at the bottom of the order.
"It’s just trying to get a good, quality at bat in. Usually when you’re just trying to think that, things are going to start turning around," Gomes said.