As we’ve documented repeatedly in Da Clip Show, one of the young pitchers who has definitely struggled for most of the season is Jeanmar Gomez. Prior to Tuesday’s start, Gomez was languishing with a 3-7 record in 12 starts to go with a ballooned ERA of 6.96. He was 1-5 in his last six decisions.
So, color me surprised to read the box score and see that Gomez worked 7.0 strong innings on Tuesday, allowing just three hits, walking none, and striking out six to get the win. It was almost like a switch appeared to have been flipped, and Gomez was a completely different pitcher. “I just know what he can do,” said manager Mike Sarbaugh, who also managed Gomez in AA Akron in 2009. “And I know that he hasn’t been throwing consistently the way that he can. I know that he can do it. But it’s a matter of going out there and not really worrying about throwing seven innings like he did today. It’s important for him to worry about one hitter at a time. If he does that, then good things will happen.”
Through 6.1 innings, the only Tides hitter to get to Gomez was former Tribe farmhand Michael Aubrey, who hit a double in the first and a single in the fourth. Other than that, Gomez was flawless, setting down eight in a row between Aubrey’s hits, and nine in a row after the fourth inning single. “Oh, my gosh, that’s a dream to catch when somebody pitches like that,” Catcher Chris Gimenez said. “He had everything working for him today. He really did a good job of getting ahead of guys. He was able throw everything instead of just relying on his sinker. It was by far his best game.”
In addition to his great command, Gomez got plenty of help along the way as each Clippers starter recorded at least one hit; seven of the nine hitters had multiple-hit games. The big blows came from Jared Goedert, Josh Rodriguez, and Chris Giminez, who hit two-, two-, and three-run homers respectively. Goedert was 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Michael Brantley was 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI, and two runs scored. Batting second, Rodriguez also got in on the act, going 2-for-5 with his homer, two RBI, and two runs scored of his own.
Overall, the Clippers’ lineup went 18-for-38 (.474) and drew three walks while only striking out twice. They did a lot of their damage late, scoring seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings. But, they had staked Gomez to a 4-0 lead through five innings, which allowed his confidence to blossom as he continued to dominate Tides hitters. “Confidence is a big part of this game,” Sarbaugh said. “[Gomez is] 22 years old and at the triple-A level for the first time. Tough times are part of his development. You don’t like to see it. But he has stayed strong through this.”
The Clippers ended their homestand with a 4-4 record, and head out onto the road starting Thursday in Pawtucket. The team reached the 40-win mark in 67 games (40-27, .597), and is the first IL team to reach 40 wins on the year. They are battling Durham (39-26, .600) for the best record in the league. In 2009, Columbus didn’t reach the 40-win mark until the 92nd game of the year (40-52, .435))