CLEVELAND: When Jeanmar Gomez gave up eight runs (7 earned) to the Tigers on Aug. 22, many Indians fans undoubtedly were thinking, ""There's another phenom going down in flames.''
Even Tribe officials said that Gomez wasn't ready for the big leagues when he made his debut as a spot starter a month earlier. But in his first five starts, he compiled a 1.84 earned-run average and pitched at least six innings three times. Then came Gomez's comeuppance against Detroit.
But those who follow the fortunes of the Tribe know that game was not the beginning of the end for Gomez. Since his only bad outing, he hs made two starts and given up four runs in 11 2/3 innings.
His 3-3 record is a more a reflectiion of a lack of run support than his workmanship on the mound. And even with the clinker against the Tigers, his ERA is a sparkling 3.03.
How has Gomez done it?
""It's his ability to throw strikes,'' manager Manny Acta said. ""He's able to survive on that. But that's been his MO in the minors, too. Most of the guys who struggle with their command throw really hard. A lot of those guys overthrow.''
Gomez is averaging only 2.5 walks per nine innings and it shows. Gomez is not a hard thrower, but the slightly built (6-foot-3, 170 pound) right-hander might not have maxed out his velocity yet.
""I expect him to fill out a little,'' Acta said. ""He might pick up a coulple of miles per hour along he way.''