Tag Archives: Johnny Gomes

Boston Red Sox 2014 Team Preview

xander-bogaerts-fenway

As part of our season preview, we continue our trek through baseball’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Boston Red Sox. For this preview I made a call to my old roommate – both in college and after college – because Brent lives and dies with the Red Sox. Still basking in the glory of another World Championship, he brings us his thoughts on Beantown while living in Washington, DC. You can follow Brent on twitter here.

It’s been a long off-season but now Opening Day is upon us. Opening Day means different things to folks, but to me it’s the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It also, means trips to the ballpark on a nice warm evening with friends.

Last season was very special, because I got to see my Boston Red Sox win their third World Series in ten years. After what the city of Boston went through with the Marathon bombings and their disastrous season the year before, it was exciting to be a part of Sox Nation.

It will be very tough for the Sox to repeat, but I like their chances as well as any of the American League teams. When I look at the AL East, I’m still convinced they’re the strongest team in that division.

Toronto isn’t going anywhere and the Orioles pitching is very weak. The Yankees should be better, but they’re still old and their pitching isn’t nearly strong enough. I’ve learned to never count out the Rays and they will probably be competitive again this season, but their pitching isn’t as strong as it once was, minus David Price. Therefore, I have my Sox winning the AL East again. Continue reading

The Reds find a way to Big Game James and the Rays

[Box Score]

[Cincinnati.com] [Rays Index]

Reds fans might just look back on Ryan Hanigan’s 3-run home run off James Shields in the fourth frame of yesterday’s game as being one of the biggest hits of the year for the Reds.

Yesterday’s win was a big, big win on the heels of a very tough heartbreaking loss. And taking two out of three on the road from a very good ballclub was no short order for the Reds. Coupled with the Brewers 5-2 loss in the Bronx, the win allowed the Reds to pull within 2 and 1/2 games of first place in the National League Central.

I knew this would be a tough win for the Reds. James Shields was on his game. He struck out 10 different Reds hitters, or not actually. Four of those times, Jay Bruce was the culprit. It was his first Golden Sombrero of memory, and he’ll be getting christened sometime soon by our friends over at The Golden Sombrero.

Freddy Lewis had a huge hit in this one, a line drive single to left field that scored Johnny Gomes and the run that would stand up to be the winning run.

Francisco Cordero entered the game in the bottom of the 9th and locked down things for his 16th save. Cordero has been remarkably solid this season–minus that night in Philadelphia that Ryan Howard hit a ball that still hasn’t landed and the Reds ended up losing in 19.

The Reds come home for a very big series at home against the Cleveland Indians with a chance to once again make some hay. It’s time to make a move in the standings and build some momentum before the All-Star break.

Game 41, 2011: Reds 7, Cubs 4

Last night felt like a night in which the Reds luck was going to run out a little bit, but they scored seven runs in the 6th inning and showed why Carlos Zambrano is no longer worth giving away starts and innings on any fantasy baseball team. The win was the Reds fourth in a row at home.

With the win, the Cincinnati Reds of 2011 are now one game better than the 2010 Reds were at this point.

Homer Bailey fought through tough mound conditions, loading the bases in the 1st inning with walks, and overall not having his best stuff. It’s the type of game where in the past, he would have lost. Bailey is a lot more cerebral on the mound this year and it shows. He knows when he needs a strikeout. He knows when he has to throw a ground ball. He knows when he can afford to give up a fly ball. Carlos Pena touched him up for a long one to make it 4-0 Cubs, but it was Bailey’s ability to limit damage in spots that allowed the Reds to hang around and come back and win this one.

[Cincinnati.com] [Box Score]

A lot was made after the game of Johnny Gomes being knocked down by Chicago reliever Marcus Mateo and then getting off the dirt two pitches later to fly one into the seats in right center field. It would definitely be big for Johnny Gomes to get going and be a run producer in the lineup for the Reds which has to be why Dusty Baker is giving the veteran so much rope when it would be easy to go to Chris Heisey as the everyday left fielder or a platoon of Gomes, Heisey and Fred Lewis.

Jay Bruce had his second multi-hit game in a row. He started 0 for 2 off Zambrano but then singled and doubled, scored and run and drove in his 13th run of the month.

The big moment of the game for me was when Scott Rolen hit a ball hard and back into left field and Alfonso Soriano had his almost daily ‘woopsies’ out in left-field. The misplay allowed the Reds to take the lead, and they wouldn’t look back.

Bailey improves to 3-0 for the first time in his career. This is success that really has the chance to be sustained. Bailey is pitching really well, and he’s on a truly good team. A team that; as they did in this game, can dig him out of small holes should he lack stuff on certain nights.

Clearly, the Reds are surging right now since getting pitching back from injury like Bailey and Johnny Cueto. The lineup continues to score at a consistent clip. Francisco Cordero locked down his 8th save in pitching in his 4th straight 9th inning.

Top Plays:

Stubbs throws a seed to nail Alfonso Soriano at home plate

Johnny Gomes goes oppo-long ball

Another big hit for Joey Votto (RBI single)
Potpourri:

You want proof that I’m cursed in fantasy baseball? Here’s a screen grab of my box score from my 10-team keeper roto-league last night. This is the night that officially put me on tilt:

What the shot doesn’t include is sub-par outings from Tim Lincecum, Josh Johnson, and a blown save by Jordan Walden. The 1 for 28 actually grew to 1 for 31 last night before Mike Stanton added another hit and Jason Kubel got a mercy single late in Seattle. I ended up 3 for 39.

Game 37, 2011: Astros 4, Reds 3

[Box Score] [Cincinnati.com] [Crawfish Boxes]

The Reds finished off a road trip in which they went 4-2 yesterday with a loss to the Houston Astros. The Reds won’t go on a 9 out of 10 run this season to match last year’s pace at this time. When I went to leave work yesterday I forgot my glasses in my office, so when leaving around the 5:00 hour here in Ohio; Hunter Pence was at the plate and I had the game on the radio. When I returned to my car minutes later, the game was on commercial break. The mind of a baseball fan works quickly in those situations. So I knew that Mike Leake and the Reds either got out of the inning quickly, or the game was over. Considering that when I ran back up to my office Hunter Pence was at the plate with a man on base, and Mike Leake was on the bump rather than Francisco Cordero, I think I knew exactly what had happened before Marty Brenneman returned to the air to give the grim news to me. When he actually said it I grit my teeth for a minute, and it made rush hour that much more hard to bear. I immediately wanted to choke Mike Leake, that little worthless rat bastard.

My original hatred for the Astros stemmed long ago when they had guys on their team that could really hurt you. Guys like Biggio, Bagwell, Berkman, Oswalt, Pettite, Clemens, and so forth. I hated them more than I hate any other team in baseball. That hate still remains, and I hope they’re an after-thought forever. That said, it’s not as easy to hate them anymore because they really only have two guys that can hurt you on a regular basis now: Wandy Rodriguez, and Hunter Pence. Brett Wallace and Billy Hall don’t count. Both Wandy and Pence did their damage yesterday against the Reds.

Yesterday’s loss was an infliction from bad moves by the Reds manager, Dusty Baker. He did three things I didn’t like, that really set the Reds up for a loss on getaway day like he so often does.

I was surprised to see Jay Bruce get the start against Wandy Rodriguez. Bruce went out and did what I expected him to do yesterday, nothing. He went 1 for the series vs. the Astros with the one hit being a bomb. But I really thought that Dusty Baker sent a message in the wrong way when he decided to roll with Jay Bruce yesterday–but hit him 7th in the lineup. If you’re going to run Bruce out there against a guy who you know he doesn’t have good numbers against, display confidence in him. Protect him with someone in the lineup who might get him an extra fastball or two. In fact, do something out of the ordinary to get ordinary results against Wandy. Hit him 2nd. Hell, get really wild and hit him fourth. What does it matter? You’re just trying something anyways. But don’t hit him 7th, because that basically says without actually saying anything that you expect him to go out and go 0 for 4, which is exactly what happened. Bad lineups on getaway day often damn the Reds.

The second thing I had a problem with is seeing Johnny Gomes once again in left field. If you read this blog or my tweets enough, you know that I’ve seen enough of Johnny Gomes.

Here’s some stats for thought on Gomes via Lance Mcalister: Jonny Gomes hit 2 HR’s and drove in 6 runs in June 12 of last season to help the Reds beat the Kansas City Royals. After that game Gomes was hitting .307 with 9 HR and his 47 RBI tied him for the NL lead. Since that game: 125 games for Gomes, 495 plate appearances, 101 for 436 (.232), 15 HR, 46 RBI, 45 BB, 110 K, .295 OBP, .378 SLG, .673 OPS.

Chris Heisey was on the bench again, and later in the game he came off the bench to homer and cut the deficit to 3-2. I ask the question, why does Dusty get an annual hard-on for guys that help the Reds lose ballgames? Because he’s a player’s manager? Oh, it’s great for the players. But it’s rough on fans like me and you. In 2008, Corey Patterson was that guy. In 2009, Wily Taveras was that guy. Last year, I’m shocked that Gary Matthews Jr. wasn’t that guy. Now, it’s Johnny Gomes. Gomes starting over Heisey is a load of shit as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t care how great of a guy Johnny Gomes is or how much fun he is in the clubhouse. He’s killing the Reds, every at-bat and every night. A slow, painful death. And we’re going on a year now.

The third problem that I had was going with Mike Leake yesterday in the bottom of the 9th instead of Francisco Cordero. Why are the Reds forcing Mike Leake down our throat? Why can’t this guy spend some time attempting to develop in AAA Louisville? I don’t care that he was a first round pick. I don’t care if the organization likes his potential. What I see is a guy who lacks stuff. Especially stuff that allows you to survive in the 9th inning of a tie game on the road. That’s a situation where for as long as I’ve been watching baseball, you go to your closer. Dusty at least thought about it because Cordero was warming up before the inning. I’m sure he had some reason after the game that he went to Leake instead, and I don’t really care what it was. It was a bad reason. I have a feeling if Cordero was out there in the 9th, the Reds get one more chance to hit for the sweep.

I’ll be at the game tomorrow night, and of course today is an off day. I need the day to cool off I think.

Potpourri:

Found this post on FanGraphs as to why Aroldis Chapman is struggling:

It looks like [Chapman] is releasing his fastballs about six inches higher and closer to the center of the mound: so more over-the-top and less 3/4 delivery. Again this conclusion is hard to make without the actual release point, and because the Pitch F/x system is more noisy at the release-point end of the trajectory than the plate-location end. So I wanted to see if I could back it up with photographic support. It was hard to find pictures from the head-on angle, but it does look like he has a slightly more over-the-top delivery in 2011 than in 2010 and definitely more than in 2009 during the World Baseball Classic.

This suggests, though definitely not conclusively, that Chapman may have “lost” his release point. And it is possible that this “lost” release point plays a role in his huge walk rate.

Ugh.

Game 9, 2011: Arizona DiamondBacks 10, Cincinnati Reds 8

[Box Score] [Cincinnati.com]

Observations:

The Reds always do this. On a Sunday, on getaway day; they always seem to make me pop my cork. The Reds Sunday record over the last three to four years has to be about 15 or 20 games below .500, and yesterday was a day in which multiple things happened that made me lose my cool really for the first time this year.

I fell asleep for a little bit and by the time I woke up the Reds were up 5-0. I hate falling asleep during a game, but I was out shopping with my fiance for wedding rings all day Saturday–and to be honest that wears out a guy. Cut me some slack.

It wasn’t long from there when Mike Leake started to give up a few cheap hits and the pouting on the mound began. And once you start seeing that, you know what’s coming.

I know this Reds team like the back of my hand. I know them too well. And even though they surrendered the lead and Ryan Roberts hit a three run bomb to left center to make it 6-5 and it ended Leake’s day; I knew that it wouldn’t be enough to beat the Reds. The DiamondBacks had came back valiantly. But this Reds group is a resilient group even in the worst of times. I knew it wasn’t the dagger. I knew they would be back.

I went to workout, because I felt myself starting to get frustrated. I would watch the end of this game while working out so that I couldn’t get too crazy. And I would take the woman with me so that even if the Reds decided to let this winnable game get away, I wouldn’t be able to really go nuts like I do when I’m watching the game alone.

The Reds did just what I thought they would do. Johnny Gomes hit a no-doubter to put them up 7-6 and just like that it looked like the Reds would slip out of the desert with a series win. Onto San Diego with a record of 7 up and 2 down, and all is right with my world and for that matter, my weekend. Sunday games always suck no matter the result because you have to go back to work the next day. I think we can all agree on that, no?

So after about 40 minutes of cardio, Nick Masset entered the ballgame and decided he was going to make my blood pressure rise a little bit higher. This is the Masset we saw last season. The nasty breaking stuff, the great velocity, and the getting his tits lit.

When Masset gave up the three run homer to Chris Young to make the score 10-7–I did something I promised myself I was done doing as a fan of sports–I punched the cardio machine in our workout room, hard. My fiance yelled at me and muttered the phrase under her breath that I loathe hearing: “it’s just a game”.

We got out of the workout room, and I figured that was it. But I am a glutton for punishment. I continued to follow the game on my phone while walking to my car. Hitting refresh for every excruciating pitch in the top of the 9th.

Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto did what they always do, come through in the clutch and give the Reds a chance to win. You can knock these Reds all you want, and they’ll blow a lead, but these guys simply never say die. They’re like the bad guy in every horror movie you’ve ever seen. When he falls out the window you better take one last look out that window onto the sidewalk and make sure he’s really dead as a doornail. Until you check the pulse and there isn’t one, he’s not dead.

And the Reds wouldn’t fail to break my heart yet one more time on this day.

Phillips and Votto singled to start the inning, and I missed the play but I’m told Chris Young made a great play to rob Scott Rolen of extra bases and record the first out. Then we’re at 10-8, and Johnny Gomes comes up and singles. Juan Francisco pinch hits and does nothing as per usual, leaving my guy; Jay Bruce, to be the hero or the goat. And with the way things were going right now for Bruce I knew how this story ended.

I rushed back into my house just in time to see Bruce swing through a high fastball to make the count 1-2. When Bruce is struggling, he’s doing a couple of things wrong. He’s not taking the ball the other way or especially up the middle. He’s trying to jerk everything. He’s swinging at breaking balls, and he’s not being careful with his pitch selection. He’s swinging early in the count. He’s not working walks, he’s striking out a ton and he’s rolling over on a lot of breaking balls. Right now is one of those times.

The next pitch, Bruce was awarded a fastball right down the middle of the plate from J.J. Putz with him representing the go-ahead run. Putz is damn lucky that Bruce is in one of those funks, because it was the type of 94 MPH pitch that big league hitters dream about, and if you’re in a groove you drive it out of the park and you’re the hero. Bruce swung through it, and my crappy day as a fan was complete. I threw one last mini-tantrum and my fiance didn’t say anything (she knows what a tough time I go through when Bruce is struggling as well as the Reds) and I turned the channel immediately.

Sunday was over, the Reds had lost the series to a lesser-team and they were heading to San Diego. That’s how game nine of the 2011 season went for me.

Top Plays:

Bruce just misses a home run

Gomes 2-run big fly gives the Reds a lead

Chris Young’s 3-run jack ruins my weekend

Putz throws it right through Bruce’s bat to end it

Game 4, 2011: Reds 8, Astros 2

[Box Score]
[Cincinnati.com Reds Blog]

Observations:

Chris Heisey had a really nice ballgame, filling in for Jay Bruce (who we guess is still platooning against LHP for some really odd reason). Heisey only finished 1 for 2, but ended up with 3 RBI. I don’t like Jay Bruce sitting, not now or ever; but if you’re going to have a 4th outfielder Chris Heisey is right up there with the Alex Ochoa’s of the world in terms of 4th outfielders that I absolutely love everything about their game.

In a perfect world, I think Heisey is ready for the big time and playing every day in left field. Even though he’s continuing to be selective at the plate, Johnny Gomes can go pound sand. I think Heisey is better defensively, he’s better as an everyday young player, and just has that swagger. Let Gomes be the fourth outfielder. But Dusty does backwards-assed things; see Jay Bruce sitting in game four of the year so Gomes can play every day.

Drew Stubbs continued his good play and Joey Votto tacked on a few more hits. The Reds were on the Astros early and often, and they put the game out of reach so Mike Leake could really coast. And I know I give Mike Leake a hard time. But like Chris Heisey said after the game last night in so many words, it’s nice to have a roster of 25 guys who can contribute.

Another example would have been Miguel Cairo (Dusty loves subbing this guy all over the diamond) coming in for Brandon Phillips. Fear struck the Queen city when Phillips was taken out of the game without reason; but Baker was just getting a guy rest who he knows he’s going to need down the stretch. Heisey, Leake, Cairo; all guys who aren’t considered gem roster finds, but if you can have them they make up winning ballclubs.

And the Reds are 4-0 for the first time since that magical 1990 season. They’re playing so well right now defensively and offensively it is going to take something more than the Astros or a sub par team to get past them on a nightly basis.

It will be very interesting to see how Volquez throws tonight.

Top Plays:

Votto RBI double off J.A. Happ

Chris Heisey bullet to center-field

Paul Janish smooth at shortstop

Potpourri:

I found this last night while perusing the interwebs. I love scout-speak. Absolutely love it. Here’s what they said:

In a lineup with an unquestionable leader, N.L. MVP Joey Votto, the question that’s not so obvious is: Who is the Reds’ second-best regular?

For our answer, we turned to a veteran N.L. scout who sees a lot of the Central:

“It’s a close call but for the present, I’d have to say Phillips. He’s a Gold Glove defender, he plays every day and puts up the numbers. While he can rub some old-school guys wrong with some of the stuff he says, he does a lot of things right to impact a game.

“Bruce really hasn’t established himself yet except for those two months at the end of last season. That said, I consider him probably the best right fielder defensively in the National League right now. A strong, accurate arm and he gets to a lot of balls, more than Jayson Werth.

Offensively, he still gets into too many bad counts and the game can speed up on him sometimes. But he knows this and just has to get the experience to make it happen. He’s only 24. If he progresses as you’d hope, he could be similar to Votto in his production. Votto uses the whole field while Bruce can still get pull-happy at times. But he has a lot of upside.

“I don’t like putting Rolen this low because of everything he has contributed to this team off, as well as on, the field. But because of the injuries and where he is in his career, I put Phillips and Bruce ahead of him.

“Stubbs is another high-ceiling guy who’s not too far behind Bruce. They’re all going to strike out a lot. You’d just like to see them cut down to about 100 from 150.”

I could read that stuff all day long.

Game 2, 2011: Reds 4, Brewers 2

[Box Score]
[Cincinnati.com]

Observations:

I actually took this one in with Mike from The Sombrero, nice quick ballgame. Travis Wood was doing what he seemingly always does, right? Just painting the outside corner, allowing some contact but nothing substantial or hard, and even striking a few guys out. You look up in the 8th inning and the opposition has a run and two hits.

Big lift early in the game with Scott Rolen hitting the two pointer to put the Reds up. Shawn Marcum had some problems all night with his control (he walked Johnny Gomes three times), and he left one up in the zone but hittable to Scotty Rolen.

The Reds didn’t get an abundance of offense but they had enough. Let’s not forget that Drew Stubbs went 2 for 3 with a triple, RBI and stolen base. Playing real good ball to start the season that Stubbsy. Votto and Hanigan added singles. Masset came in out of the pen in the 8th and looked like we need Nick Masset to look. I made the comment to Mike from the Sombrero that if they’re not going to use Chapman in a set-up role every night he should have been groomed to start this year.

Cordero came in for the 9th inning and he did pretty much what he always does. Left a few balls down the middle, gave up a few hits, but in the end he locked it down. Reds, 2-0 to start the year for the first time since 2005. And now I’m greedy and want more than a few to start the year. I want to be the talk of all of baseball with the start we jump out to.

Star of the Game:

Travis Wood. The hillbilly just keeps getting it done. He worked a game just a hair over 2 and 1/2 hours in front of a crowd of 37,967 on ‘Opening Night’. He’s got ice water in his veins and fits into this team perfectly. He could be these Reds Tom Browning, which if you think back to Mr. Perfect in his prime is a pretty big shot in the arm with some of the other big ‘names’ that are part of this pitching staff. I don’t just like Wood, I love the damn guy; and in 109.2 career innings pitched his career WHIP is now 1.04; which is nothing short of phenomenal.

I didn’t start out a believer, but the guy is legitimate. Sky is the limit and be glad he wasn’t the throw in for a bat, or someone else.

Top Plays:

Bruce’s sick catch by the wall in foul territory

Edgar Renteria snuffs out a rally with a great stop and a 6-4-3

Rolen 2-run bomb for a 2-0 lead

Potpourri:

*It’s Wrestlemania 27 tonight. I’m predicting high drama from John Cena and The Rock; as well as Alberto Del Rio to get the strap.

*Watched Player to be named later with The Sombrero yesterday. Pretty good baseball documentary if you haven’t seen it with a starring role from Marco Scutaro.

*I’m exhausted from 2 Opening Days in 2 days. And it’s the week for me to get my taxes together. Ugh.

The Baseball Show: The Best, Around

Today on The Baseball Show Mike Rosenbaum of The Golden Sombrero and I usher in Spring Training the best way we know how. Today we talked about the following:

  • The beginning of Spring Training baseball games
  • The Adam Wainwright injury
  • Was Johnny Gomes really singing a song in The Karate Kid? Or celebrating not having to face Waino?
  • What is Chris Carpenter’s value on the open market if the Cardinals fall out of the race?
  • Was the Jose Bautista’s contract a poor move for the Blue Jays?
  • Thoughts on Miguel Cabrera’s DUI
  • Can Bryce Harper play at the big league level for the Washington Nationals this season?

We didn’t have time to cover Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects or some other things we would have liked to have talk about. But as I and Mike talk about; business is about to pick up. Baseball lovers, we have just about made it.