Carlos Gomez thinks if he’s with the Rangers for a full season he can be the player he once was, if not better.
Gomez, who homered twice Saturday night in the Rangers’ 8-5 win over the Angels, says he’s doing things at the plate that he hasn’t done in his 10-year professional career.
And he’s not just talking about two-homer games, of which he last did July 8, 2015 for the Astros.
He’s seeing and watching the ball better and longer, including up to the point of contact. He’s doing so, with the help of hitting coaches Anthony Iapoce and Justin Mashore, by keeping his weight on his back foot, a technique you’ll hear in Little League through pro ball.
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“Keeping my weight on my back leg allows me stay back and recognize the pitch better and I can drive the ball easier and with less effort,” said Gomez, who ripped the first pitch of the game 425 feet over the left-field wall. “I’ve been doing some stuff I’ve never done in my life. The way I feel, If I’m here for a full season, I think I’m going to do the stuff that I believe that I can do.”
He mentioned his stellar seasons in Milwaukee in 2012-14 when he was twice named an All-Star as not just an aspiration, but a starting point.
“I had good seasons but I don’t feel like I’m there yet. I feel I can be better,” he said.
The success he’s had in 16 games with the Rangers (four homers, two doubles, 11 RBIs and nine runs scored) has him feeling like he’s rediscovering the game. It’s happening, Gomez said, because of the trust the Rangers have shown in him.
“When you have people that believe in you and give you the opportunity and look at you like you’re going to have a good game ... there’s good chemistry in this clubhouse and I’m really happy,” he said.
Three thoughts from the Rangers’ 8-5 win Saturday night:
1. Beltre — Adrian Beltre is not only a future Hall of Famer because of his bat, which was again in rare form Saturday night, but also for his glove. He made two classic Beltre plays at third base. In the third, he charged Andrelton Simmons slow roller up the line and made his patented pick up and side-winder throw to first with his body almost parallel to the grass. In the sixth, he back-handed a Jefry Marte’s hot shot that seemed to be past him like he was pulling car keys out of his pocket. Easy peasy. He made the throw to first for the out, preventing a sure double.
“His defense is gold, Hall of Fame,” manager Jeff Banister said. “That’s how you look at it. I don’t think there’s a better defender that reacts on the ball as good as he does. The glove work itself stands alone.”
2. Relief for relievers — Tony Barnette hasn’t pitched since Sept. 4 and wasn’t called on Saturday. Banister declined to say whether Barnette was available or injured. Barnette deferred the question to his manager. Neither seemed too concerned about the situation. In fact, Barnette joked that he “serves at the pleasure of the president.”
Banister maintained that Keone Kela, Matt Bush and Tanner Scheppers and closer Sam Dyson are who he wanted to use, so he used them. The Rangers’ relief corp isn’t exactly giving off a sterling sheen at the moment. With the loss of Jeremy Jeffress to a treatment program, Jake Diekman’s recent struggles and Barnette, perhaps, unavailable because of an injury, the bullpen is in a bit of a precarious state at the moment.
“I felt like it was a good opportunity for Schepp to come in the game and get the feeling again of pitching in that type of game and get an out,” he said of Scheppers’ two-pitch appearance in the seventh when he took over to get the final out for Kela, who had surrendered three runs. “We’ve got to get Schepp engaged and involved and find out where he’s at and how he’s doing. That’s where I’m leaving it.”
3. Hamels better, but ... — Cole Hamels rebounded after two poor outings Saturday night but it didn’t come easily. Hamels allowed two runs on four hits and four walks in six innings and didn’t factor in the decision. He left with a 4-2 lead. Two of his four walks scored, one each in the third and fourth innings. He walked No. 9 hitter Gregorio Petit on four pitches to start the third and later scored on Mike Trout’s sacrifice fly. In the fourth, a one-out walk to Marte turned into a run after a single and wild pitch set up a run-scoring groundout,
“He was effectively wild in some instances,” Banister said. “His misses were down and lateral.”
It’s a vast improvement to his previous two starts, however, when he allowed a combined 13 runs on 14 hits and seven walks in six combined innings against the Mariners.