Jeanmar Gomez is one of many unfinished products on this club, and his performance down the stretch has showcased some of his flaws. His fastball isn't good enough to throw by hitters, and if his location isn't there, there isn't anything else to fall back upon. Although he throws three pitches, his changeup really needs some work. To be fair, Gomez should have spent this whole season working on his secondary pitches in Columbus, but thanks to trades and injuries, the 22-year-old has had the opportunity to spend two months in the major-league rotation.
Gomez's final line in this game looks a lot worse because he remained in the game several batters too long. The Twins had figured him out just a couple innings into the game, and by the fifth inning, he wasn't fooling anyone. But he came out for the fifth, something that doesn't happen if the Indians were playing for something this year. His teammates had made a game of it, scoring two runs to close the gap to 4-3. Gomez would give up four more base hits and four more runs before being pulled.
On the offensive side of the ball, a couple players are ending the season on a downward spiral. Jayson Nix, who started out hot with the Indians, has fizzled out in September. He came into the game hitting .244/.295/.430, still the best line in his short major-league career, but that's eroding daily thanks to a brutal September. He's hitting .173/.246/.212 this month, with 17 strikeouts in 57 plate appearances. Matt LaPorta, who's usually hitting behind him, has been a horrible hitter since August. Whatever promise he showed after returning to the club in July has been drowned in a long depressing series of at-bats the last two months. He's hit two home runs but no doubles in September, a sign that he's only really hitting bad mistakes.
Target Field has very similar dimensions to the Metrodome, but seems to play as twice as big. Shelley Duncan absolutely crushed a ball to center field in the third inning, but the ball died at the warning track. Those spacious dimensions really have helped a staff who generally like to pitch to contact. The Twins staff, as always, is a group that doesn't walk many, and now with a home field that rewards strike-throwing, has thrived. I don't know if that success will translate well to the postseason, where strikeouts are preferable to balls in play, but they've found a great formula for winning in the regular season.
Oh, by the way, Andy Marte came into tonight's game hitting .247/.312/.412 since the All-Star Break, and went 2-for-3 with a walk tonight.
|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|
|Andy Marte||.233||Jeanmar Gomez||-.390|
|Shelley Duncan||.091||Michael Brantley||-.207|
|Drew Sutton||.057||Jayson Nix||-.139|