Tag:Carlos Gomez
Posted on: April 4, 2011 9:08 pm

Brewers stay positive despite 0-4 start

By Matt Snyder

The Milwaukee Brewers entered the 2011 season with sky-high expectations. In fact, you could make the argument the expectations have never been higher since the team joined the national league.

Yet after Monday's 2-1 loss to the Braves in Milwaukee, the Brewers sat 0-4 for the first time since 2003. That was a team that would go on to lose 94 games. This was a team probably confident it could win that many. Fortunately, the players realize that there is still more than 97 percent of the season remaining.

"We know we're still good," red hot Rickie Weeks said after the game.

"We certainly didn't hope to start 0-4. Obviously, we felt good about ourselves coming out of the spring and we still feel good about ourselves. It'll be nice to get our first win under our belt and I think we'll feel a little bit better about where we're at," Ryan Braun added.

"It's not frustrating. It's the beginning of the season. It's only four games. We still have 158 games to play," center fielder Carlos Gomez pointed out. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel )

The Brewers could very easily be 2-2, if not better. On opening day, they took a three-run lead into the ninth, only to see closer John Axford cough up four. Monday, they had a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning when setup man Takashi Saito allowed two home runs.

It's easy for fans to become overly frustrated with slow starts, because they've sat and waited for months for the season to begin. Excitement builds and builds as it inches closer, and then to see a team thought to be pretty good start 0-4, it's maddening. Just take a deep breath and follow the lead of the guys on the field. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Plus, having to open at Cincinnati and then host the Braves isn't exactly an easy task.

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Posted on: March 17, 2011 7:17 pm

Marcum leaves early, says he's fine

Shaun MarcumBy C. Trent Rosecrans

You can forgive Brewer fans for being a little tight right about now.

Milwaukee had another starter leave the game prematurely -- this time it was right-hander Shaun Marcum. However, Marcum said he didn't think the tightness in his right shoulder was anything to worry about.

"This may be one of those things to take a day or two off of throwing to get the tightness out of there and pick back up where I left off and get ready for April 2," Marcum told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Marcum left after three innings of Thursday's game against the White Sox. He allowed just a hit and struck out two before exiting.

"It felt good the first two innings and in between the second and third it started tightening up," Marcum said. "We just decided it would be in the best interest to not go back out."

The Brewers, of course, lost Zack Greinke earlier this spring. The team has also seen injuries to Corey Hart, Yuniesky Betancourt, Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and Chris Dickerson.

"We are this far along, we have two weeks left and it seems like everyone is going down," Marcum said. "You want to be one of the guys that stays healthy and is able to play when it is my time."

It would be silly to panic now, but there is certainly concern in Brewer camp. A couple of more injuries and the needle could move away from concern and toward panic.

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Posted on: February 25, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 5:07 pm

Imagining an MLB Combine

Michael Bourn

While our Eye on Football brethren are in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine not getting to watch guys run and jump, it got me to thinking how much fun an MLB Combine might be.

Among the drills the NFL draft hopefuls do that would be applicable to baseball are the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical leap and the Wonderlic Test. So who would be the best baseball players to participate? That's where the fun begins.

40-yard dash: Maybe for baseball, it'd be more fun to line the guys up and have them go 90 feet.

Favorite: Michael Bourn, Astros. A Sports Illustrated poll of players during spring training had Crawford picked as the fastest player in the majors, but the less-heralded Bourn finished second. Bourn has won two straight Gold Gloves in center, and much of it is because he can seemingly cover the entire outfield. In a division blessed with fast center fielders (Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs), Bourn covers more ground than anyone. Oh, and he's led the National League in stolen bases each of the last two seasons.

Others: Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Luis Durango, Juan Pierre, Jose Reyes, Andrew McCutchen, Chone Figgins, Ichiro Suzuki, Emilio Bonifacio, Carlos Gomez, Carl Crawford

Adam DunnBench press: At the combine, players bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible, testing not only strength, but endurance. For baseball, maybe the best test would be a home-run derby-like format, but adding the distances of balls hit.

Favorite: Adam Dunn, White Sox. According to HitTrackerOnline.com, Jose Bautista had more "no-doubt" home runs than Dunn (19 to 16), but Dunn's homers averaged nearly 10 feet more, with an average "true distance" of 411.1 feet. Mark Reynolds' 32 homers averaged 415.6 feet, so he's certainly in the discussion. Dunn's been consistently hitting long home runs, so he gets the nod.

Others: Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Mark Reynolds, Wily Mo Pena, Mike Stanton, Travis Hafner, Russell Branyan, Jose Bautista

Dexter FowlerVertical leap: While it's not something that you associate with baseball, it's a good test of athleticism, but is also practical at the wall as players just to rob home runs.

Favorite: Dexter Fowler, Rockies. At 6-foot-5, Fowler was recruited as a basketball player in high school, but he showed his leaping ability in an unusual place in the 2009 NLDS. In the eighth inning of Game 4, Fowler was on first when Todd Helton hit a grounder to Chase Utley. Fowler was running toward Utley and hurdled him. Utley then threw errantly to Jimmy Rollins and Fowler was safe. (You can see the play here.)

Others: Carl Crawford, Torii Hunter, Shane Victorino, Mike Cameron, Hunter Pence

Craig BreslowWonderlic test: A 12-minute, 50-question test used for testing applicants for learning and problem-solving. Harvard's Pat McInally is the only confirmed 50 score at the combine, while another Harvard alum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, scored either a 48 or 49 in nine minutes. So, it makes sense to look to the Ivy League for our baseball picks.

Favorite: Craig Breslow, Athletics. Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Seriously. The Sporting News called him the smartest player in sports, while the Wall Street Journal suggested he may be the smartest man in the world. Not only that, batters hit just .194/.272/.348 against him last season, with lefties hitting .181/.245/.340 against him.

Others: Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Young, Fernando Perez, Mark DeRosa

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: February 10, 2011 9:48 am

Twins considering trading Liriano

Francisco Liriano Because, I guess, Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra have worked out so well for the Twins, the team is apparently open to dealing ace Francisco Liriano, Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes .

Liriano, 27, is a free agent after the 2012 season and the team doesn't appear interested in signing him to a long-term deal, Christensen writes. The two sides avoid arbitration last week, but Liriano's side was looking for a three-year, $39 million contract.

Last season, Liriano was 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA in 31 starts. He struck out 201 in 191 2/3 innings. He was also second in the majors in xFIP at 3.06, behind Roy Halladay. Liriano has a history of arm injuries, including Tommy John surgery in 2006.

In 2008, the Twins had a left-handed ace they couldn't sign in the last year of his contract in Johan Santana, receiving just the aforementioned Gomez, Humber, Mulvey and Guerra in return for the left-hander from the Mets. The thought with Liriano is that they can receive more with more time left under team control.

The Twins have five other starters -- Carl Pavano, Brian Duensing, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey -- and their top prospect, Kyle Gibson, is a starter, so they see Liriano as replaceable and attractive to a team like the Yankees, who are looking to fill their rotation.

However, the Twins need Liriano to help compete in the AL Central and dealing him now doesn't help the team in pursuit of its first postseason series victory since 2002. None of their other five big-leaguers have the stuff Liriano does or the ability to dominate like he can.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 1, 2010 12:57 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 7:34 am

Chapman proves worthy of hype

Aroldis Chapman

CINCINNATI – The attention was no doubt on the FM dial of pitch speeds from Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman in his big-league debut – 98.4, 86.4, 102.5, 86.9, 100.3, 102.7, 101.4 and 98.6. But catcher Ryan Hanigan wasn’t talking about the fact Chapman threw four of his eight pitches faster than 100 mph or even that seven were for strikes.

Instead, it was the fourth pitch – the second slowest of the night – that caught his attention. It was a slider that started on the outside of the plate and ended up near the shoetops of Brewers catcher Jonathan LuCroy. Lucroy gave a soft wave at the pitch before heading back to bench having managed just a foul ball (which was in itself impressive, because he made contact with a 102.5 fastball), but had no chance when the next pitch was the slider.

"That thing … that pitch … that's a whole different ballgame," Hanigan said. "His breaking ball is what people should be talking about. His slider is absolutely ridiculous. He's got to be able to throw it for a strike and he's got to get into counts where we can call it. So getting ahead is big, but if he can throw that breaking ball for a strike … good luck. It's a hammer. I saw it in Triple-A. It's 88-to-93. It's moving about a foot and a half. That's not something that anyone wants to hit. I don't care how good you are.”

Yet, it was an afterthought on Tuesday for Chapman's debut because of the velocity.

Rumored to have hit 105 in the minors, many wanted to see what was possible in a major-league stadium on a more accurate gun and the Pitch F/X system installed in each ballpark. The 102.7 registered on Chapman’s final pitch to Craig Counsell was the prettiest girl in the school. Counsell grounded out weakly to short for the out and the 19,218 at Great American Ball Park saw exactly what they were hoping to see.

If home runs are what grabs attentions for batters, it's radar gun reading for pitchers. The triple digits had rarely – if ever – been seen in the seven-year history of Great American Ball Park, Chapman registered four triple-digit readings in his eight pitches.

The crowd chanted "we want Chapman" throughout the game, took pictures of the home team's bullpen and cheered loudly when he was shown warming up in the bottom of the seventh.

"I’'e never seen anything like it," Reds closer Francisco Cordero said.

Cordero, no soft-tosser himself, said he'd never seen 102 on a scoreboard before. "I got that," he said, "in my Ferrari."

Chapman was asked about it afterwards.

"Once in a while I'll take a look and I see it, and yeah, I'm surprised, and I'm happy when I see what it is," Chapman said through translator Tomas Vera.

GM Walt Jocketty, the man who committed $30 million to the Cuban, was asked if he was impressed by that kind of velocity.

"Absolutely," he said with a smile.

Aroldis Chapman The Reds still plan on using Chapman as a starter in the future, but for now he'll be used much like the Rays used David Price in 2008 or, if all goes well, like the Angels used Francisco Rodriguez in 2002. The addition of Chapman gave an already confident team another energy boost – and it didn't hurt that the Cardinals dropped a fourth game in a row at the same time the Reds finished up an 8-4 victory over Milwaukee to push Cincinnati’s lead to seven games in the National League Central.

"I think it's exciting for all of us, and it's very exciting for his teammates to see the electric stuff he has and the contribution he'll give this club throughout the pennant race and hopefully in the postseason," Jocketty said. "It's very exciting, I could tell by the reception he got when he went in the dugout, too."

This is just the first step – Chapman has struggled at times with command in the minor leagues and the trio of Lucroy, Counsell and Carlos Gomez is hardly Murderers' Row. But regardless of who the competition was – the number 102.7, plus seven strikes on eight pitches, bodes well.

"Big-league hitters can time fastballs, no matter how hard they throw," Hanigan said, "but with him, first of all, he's left-handed. Second of all, he's ass and elbows coming at you. He throws from a weird arm slot, it's not from over the top. It's got a little three-quarter action and he hides the ball well. The ball coming out of his hand that hard is a lot tougher than something straight because the ball's moving. It's running a little or cutting a little, which is obviously makes it that much tougher to hit."

Reds Frisbee-tosser Bronson Arroyo said he can imagine what it’s like being a fireballer at a different level than anyone else. He was once there, when he was 9. He recalled parents pushing their kids up to the plate to face him.

Since he turned 10, Arroyo’s lost some of that intimidation. He said the hard-throwers can always have a little bit of confidence when they know in the back of their mind if they’re not sharp, they can reach back for something extra.

So what’s the limit of the human body as far as velocity?

“I guess it's 105,” Arroyo said.

We haven’t seen it yet, but it seems like it may only be a matter of time.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: August 31, 2010 10:30 pm

Chapman impressive in debut

Cuban fireballer Aroldis Chapman just finished his debut in Cincinnati, and while it was only one inning, it made quite an impression.

C. Trent Rosecrans of CBSSports.com F&R is on the scene and reports that the 19,218 on hand made as much noise as 19,218 people can when Chapman entered the game against the Brewers in the eighth inning. According to the Pitch F/X tool, in Chapman's eight pitches he threw six fastballs with an average speed of 100.65 and a high of 102.7, plus a slider at 86.9 and a cutter at 86.4.

He got a four-pitch strikeout of Jonathan LuCroy, a two-pitch groundout by Craig Counsell and a two-pitch groundout by Carlos Gomez. Seven of his eight pitches were strikes.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 25, 2010 10:56 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 9:58 am

Gomez believes he is Brewers CF

Carlos Gomez Carlos Gomez is riding the bench. Lorenzo Cain is starting in center field.

"Right now I still have the job," Gomez says.

Wait, what?

"I'm telling myself I'm not the fourth outfielder; I'm a starting outfielder," Gomez told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after being activated off the disabled list and playing in right field in lieu of Corey Hart on Tuesday. However, Gomez has lost his center field job to the rookie Cain, who is hitting .314/.368/.431 in 17 games, swiping three bags. That, combined with Gomez' .228/.285/.348 line in 275 plate appearances, make it easy to see why Gomez is on the bench.

"[Cain] is in the lineup ... and he's playing center field," manager Ken Macha said when approached about Gomez' comments. "That should be enough of a statement."

"I'll just say that's interesting," he added. "You can take that any way you'd like. I'm just saying it's interesting."

Interesting that Gomez thinks he's the starting center fielder despite a poor offensive line? Absolutely. So why is he so adamant that he's the starter, not Cain?

Simple: his speed and defense. And Gomez does have that in spades, as his career high in the majors is 33, obtained in 2008 with Minnesota when he appeared in 157 games. However, he has just 10 on the season, so it's not like he burns up the basepaths, despite 64 thefts in 2005 in mid-Class A.

Meanwhile, Cain has swiped 26 between two seasons in 2010.

As for defense, Gomez is one of the better center fielders in the game, but Cain is no slouch either. It simply makes sense to have the hot hand hitting, which Gomez understands.

"I'm the best center fielder on the team," he stated. "But Lorenzo is doing a really good job for the last two weeks and it's not fair for me to come off the DL and take his chance. I understand."

As odd as it may be that Gomez believes he's the incumbent, it's hard to fault him for that. He started for the Twins in 2008 and has been the Brewers' starter up until his DL stint in 2010. Baseball players have to have confidence in themselves that they can do the job, which Gomez clearly has despite a .285 on-base percentage. At age 24, his window to be a starter has not closed, but he won't be handed the center field gig next year, either.

"We'll figure out after the season if I'm going to be the starting center fielder, the fourth outfielder or if I'll be here [with the team]," Gomez said, saying he understands he will likely have to battle Cain for the job in spring training. "We have a lot to play still. Cain is a good player but he's only been here two weeks, so they have to see what he is, then they'll [determine] if he's ready.

"Right now I still have the job."

Gomez may want to check with Macha if he really does have the job.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 19, 2010 12:33 pm

Gomez may lose CF job to Cain

Lorenzo Cain When the Brewers swapped J.J. Hardy to the Twins for Carlos Gomez in the offseason, the hope was the Brew Crew had found their center fielder of the future.

Instead, Gomez has shown absolutely no indication of taking the next step at the plate and thus has been left with a .228/.286/.350 line in 271 plate appearances before hitting the disabled list on August 3 with a concussion. Being considered a top defender can only do so much when a complete liability at the plate.

To replace Gomez, the Brewers called up one of the team's better prospects in Lorenzo Cain (pictured). The 24-year-old had split time between Double- and Triple-A, hitting a cumulative .317/.402/.432 in 380 plate appearances. Cain's most likely career outcome at this point was as a solid backup outfielder, if not a fringe starter.

However, since replacing Gomez, Cain has been much more than that. In 13 games comprising 41 PA, Cain has raked for a .389/.439/.566 mark. Certainly over his head, but Cain seems to have put to rest the question of if he can be a viable center fielder, something called in question in 2009 when he missed half the season. He'll likely never rack up the walks, but could be a .280-.300 hitter with 30-plus steals and strong defense.

Gomez, on his end, may end up being the fourth outfielder Cain was considered to have been.

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel doesn't see any chance Cain loses his starting job, which might leave Gomez shuttled off to Triple-A once he's ready to come off the DL. Gomez wouldn't be down in Triple-A for an extended period of time, however, as rosters are due to expand in September.

Has Gomez Wally Pipped himself? Sure looks like it.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
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