The Indians offense didn’t have a particularly good night, but a few timely hits was enough to beat the depleted Twins. Danny Salazar had a great night until he ran into some trouble in the bottom of the seventh. But it was a good sign that Salazar kept his pitch count down and worked deep into the game.
A rising concern for the Tribe has to be the defense of catcher Yan Gomes. The Indians put a lot of trust into the 26-year-old catcher when they decided to sign him to a 6-year, $23-million-dollar deal just as the 2014 season was starting. With Gomes having only played just over half a season for the Tribe, it was a bit of a risk for a Cleveland team that usually doesn’t take too many. Gomes got the call up last year for his defensive ability when Carlos Santana was dinged up, but many were surprised when he displayed a compact swing that packed a lot of power.
The hitting has still been there for Gomes this year, but there has been a noticeable decline in his defense behind the plate. After only making three errors in 83 games as a catcher last year, Gomes made another error tonight to make a total of nine for the 2014 season (four passed balls, five throwing errors). Sandy Alomar, the team’s first-base coach and former Indians catcher, has been working with Gomes to correct the throwing issues. Alomar believes Gomes’ feet are moving too quickly for his own good, and needs to slow them down to allow his arm and the rest of his body to catch up when rising to throw base runners out. It looks like Gomes is pressing to try to live up to that contract, and who can blame him.
When it is all said and done, Gomes will be fine. He has a rocket for an arm and, with Alomar for guidance, you can’t really ask for a better mentor to a young catcher.