Carlos Gomez has started off 2017 like he finished 2016 with the Texas Rangers. Friday’s first inning against the Oakland Athletics was a reminder of what the Rangers saw (and expected) from the veteran center fielder with a Gold Glove on his resume.
In the top of the first, he ran down a potential double and robbed Matt Joyce of a homer with a catch atop the center field wall.
In the bottom of the inning he legged out a double on a blooper to shallow center and later scored on Nomar Mazara’s fielder’s choice to first, as he slid head-first just under the tag at home.
It’s like a shot of caffeine for everybody to wake up.
Rangers CF Carlos Gomez
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“It’s great when you can start the game like that and save a run for your pitcher and your team,” said Gomez, who has scored four runs and driven in two RBIs in the first four games. “It’s like a shot of caffeine for everybody to wake up.”
Gomez credited his teammates and coaches for Friday’s early heroics, including Mazara for yelling to him to jump on Joyce’s near homer and for first-base coach Hector Ortiz (and the dugout) for telling him to go for the double. He legged out another double later in the game in much the same fashion.
“After that I came to the dugout and everybody waited for me outside. That gets you going,” he said. “It’s a group thing, it’s not only me.”
Manager Jeff Banister said Friday’s performance was exactly why they pegged Gomez as their full-time center fielder and lead-off hitter.
.389Carlos Gomez is only hitting .214 through the first four games but has gotten on base with three hits and three walks and scored four runs.
“What you saw [Friday] night is what we feel like he can give us, the energy, the base running, the ability to create,” Banister said. “I think that’s so crucial for the offense for any basaeball team. When you have a guy like that at the top of your lineup, a multi-threat guy, whether it’s one swing of the bat, quick point on the board, or a looping line drive to center field and he’s able to leg out a double.”
Delino DeShields had an excellent spring but has started just one of the first five games. He’s Gomez backup in center and will see time in left but at the moment his speed is best-utilized off the bench. Plus, Gomez offers power that DeShields doesn’t.
“I think [Gomez] drove it over the Johnny Oates sign. That’s a lot of something,” Banister said of Gomez’s Opening Night home run to left field, a 461-foot shot. “He gives you what Delino gives you, with the home run power.”