Jake Peavy: ‘Jonny Gomes might be my favorite player in the big leagues in just a short time’
|08.03.13 at 11:40 pm ET|
The spotlight rightly belonged to Jake Peavy as he won in his Red Sox debut on Saturday, but the story of the night could have been a very different one if not for Jonny Gomes‘ dead-on throw to the plate to prevent the Diamondbacks from tying the game in the seventh.
With the bases loaded and the Sox leading 3-1, Aaron Hill singled to left against Junichi Tazawa. Wil Nieves came around to score, and Cliff Pennington was hot on his heels. But Gomes hit Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a one-hopper that beat Pennington to the plate, keeping the Sox ahead 3-2.
“Koji [Uehara] gets credited for the save, but that throw from left field might have been the save,” Farrell said of the play. “Touched down the runner and [Tazawa] gets a big strikeout after that, and the fly ball to end it. Typically, with a left fielder moving side to side, baserunners are going to challenge that. And he was able to redirect himself, make a strong throw, and throw a strike. In that moment, a pivotal play in the game.”
In a tightly contested pitchers’ duel, Gomes’ play was a turning point, and the Sox tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the inning for a 5-2 win. Gomes has never been considered an outstanding defensive player – his UZR/150 over his career is -13.1 runs, and this year, for what it’s worth in a small sample, that number is -12.6. But over the last week, he’s made several remarkable plays in the field when the Sox needed them most.
In the Sox’ 15-inning win over Seattle on Wednesday, Gomes turned an unassisted double play from left field in the top of the 15th, making a diving grab in the outfield and then catching Raul Ibanez off the bag at second. Then, on Thursday, he leapt into the wall to make a catch in left in the top of the ninth, earning the respect of his newest teammate.
“Jonny Gomes might be my favorite player in the big leagues in just a short time,” Peavy said. “When he showed up, me and my dad and my little boys were outside and he almost ran over us coming to the park. He had the pedal to the metal, running about 50 in the parking lot, just so excited to get to the ballpark.
“The energy he brings on a nightly basis … I don’t know how much media play it got the other night, but him running into that wall, making that play when we were down six coming into the top of the ninth, I truly think that was the spark that started it. Just making sure we’re playing to the last out.”
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