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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 9/15
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum

What do you get when you cross a blunderbuss with a balloon?  Jeanmar Gomez attempted to answer this question last night, as he proceeded to either miss the strike zone or hit an Angel’s bat en route to his worst outing of his fledgling major-league career.  He did get one good inning in (out of three), and then the relievers came in, and then all interest stopped.  Combined with Jered Weaver’s tremendous performance, the two teams combined for nothing after the second inning. 

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Angels (71-74) 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 7 0
Indians (59-86) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1

gomez1W: Jer. Weaver (12-11)  L: Gomez (3-4) 

I promise to highlight every productive Cleveland PA in this column. 

1) Balloonderbuss 

Let’s keep this simple: what happens when a sinkerball pitcher cannot command the lower half of the strike zone and cannot generate movement with his sinker? 

We’ve actually seen the answer to this question any number of times, from Jason Johnson to Jake Westbrook to Fausto Carmona: guy can’t find strike zone, guy begins leaving cookies up in the zone in the middle of the plate, guy gets hammered.  And then guy must adjust, because it’s pretty rare for the ghost of Albus Dumbledore to appear from the clouds to sprinkle Magic Sinking Powder on you from his secret stash.  Part of what being a major-league pitcher is all about is learning to pitch effectively even when you don’t have your best stuff, or in this case, ANY stuff.  Hitting a baseball is still a difficult thing under even these circumstances, as evidenced by Andy Marte’s team-leading ERA, but familiarity begins breeding contempt in short order. 

So what we learned last night is the Jeanmar Gomez could use more of the skill of being able to pitch effectively without his stuff.  It’s not the easiest skill to learn, after all.  One of the things I was impressed by was that of the 7 hits Gomez gave up in only 2-plus (the plus stands for extra Fail!) innings, only one was for extra bases.  This isn’t the last word in effective pitching, of course, seeing as though he was behind 7-0 after two innings.  Still, he wasn’t just laying straight fastballs into the heart of the zone: the balls must have had SOME sink on them to be able to induce a 6:2 GO:FO ratio and offset one triple with six singles. 

But make no mistake: Gomez was awful.  I just happen to think that 22-year-old pitchers have this start.  Actually, Gomez has had this start twice in 9 tries.  Because the other seven starts have featured 2 or fewer runs, I’m inclined to shrug this one off. Not IGNORE it, or pretend it didn’t happen, but to attach a small amount of significance to it and move on. 

I actually liked how Gomez got a third inning and made something of it, retiring the last three hitters after an infield single.  This allowed him to leave on an encouraging note.  Besides, we weren’t scoring 7 runs: is losing 7-0 better than losing 10-0?  You don’t get Style Points for holding them within a touchdown, but you MIGHT get Development Points for letting Gomez leave on a high note. 

2) No pressure 

I have seen it opined that Justin Germano is not a truly useful pitcher because he can only pitch in low-leverage situations but fails in high-leverage ones.  I will say right off the bat that the evidence for this is so small as to be negligible.  It could be true that Germano “presses” or “wilts” under pressure, but two losses in September don’t make a very compelling case to me. 

Even in this case, Germano has added value to the Tribe bullpen this season.  Last night, his three perfect innings with 4 Ks were arguably influenced by the Angels’ desire to go the f*#$ home, but they were three perfect innings nonetheless.  And I would argue that on a staff which sometimes needs a little extra help due to short starts, balky shoulders, and David Huff, keeping Germano as an innings sponge isn’t the worst play in the world. 

Here’s the thing: this was originally Jamey Wright’s role.  I hated this, because Jamey Wright is an old dude with no upside.  He got the wazoo and we’re better off for it.  I understood the rationale behind the move, but I didn’t LIKE it. 

Well, next year, if it is determined that we might need a long man to prop up a young, unreliable starting rotation until they prove otherwise, I don’t want the Indians to spend any more money than they would to sign Germano.  For one thing, where Wright couldn’t strike out Mark Reynolds with vertigo, Germano has 25 Ks in 26 2/3 IP.  I will say this out loud: Justin Germano has outperformed, for example, Frank Herrmann. 

3) Counterpoint 

On the other hand, Herrmann also tossed 2 perfect innings last night, so this isn’t to say he’s a valueless schmoe.  His August was pretty bad, though. 

4) Coda 

Jensen Lewis threw a perfect inning with a K.  When Lewis gets ahead of hitters and throws strikes, he is a valuable reliever.  When he does not, he is not.  I was secretly hoping that the Indians would send Lewis down to pitch in a playoff game for Columbus, then call him back up to match Eddie Moo’s Boomerang Fish act, but I don’t think this is practical any more. 

5) Highlights from the third inning 

Howie Kendrick got an infield single. 

6) Highlights from the fourth inning 

Shin-Soo Choo stroked a single to right to break up Jered Weaver’s perfect game.  He was the only player to reach base against Weaver. 

7) Highlights from the fifth inning 

Error: file FIFTH_INNING_BASERUNNERS.TXT not found. 

8) Highlights from the sixth inning 

Error: file SIXTH_INNING_BASERUNNERS.TXT not found. 

9) Highlights from the seventh inning 


10) Highlights from the eighth inning 


11) Highlights from the ninth inning 

Tofu Lou drew a walk!  Which is kind of what he does

And Mike Brantley hit an opposite field single!  Which is kind of what he does

And then Asdrubal Cabrera grounded into a double play and that was kind of the perfect ending to the game. 

12) Welcome to the club! 

Drew Sutton!  0-for-3, but with no errors!  I like you better than some other guys already!

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