On Friday against the Marlins, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke put outfielder Carlos Gomez back into the starting lineup after the 28-year-old took a couple days off with lower back pain. But it wasn’t in Gomez’s usual spot at the top of the batting order — Gomez was put in the clean-up spot. Gomez responded by going 4-for-5 with three doubles, a pair of RBI, and a pair of runs scored.
Gomez was back in the same spot for Saturday afternoon’s game against the Marlins, and as of this writing, he has already doubled and stolen third base. Clearly, Gomez is taking to the change and in fact, he said hitting cleanup is “a sexy feeling”. Via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“When you go to the plate, it’s a sexy feeling,” said the bubbly Gomez. “I’ve been doing the leadoff job but for the future I don’t want to be leadoff. It was good today. The manager made the decision to put me there. He knows he can put me anywhere and I won’t complain.
“But, for the future, it’s my goal to hit third or fourth.”
Friday wasn’t the first time Gomez had hit cleanup; he had done so in 19 starts last season, posting a .197/.299/.364 slash line with three home runs and nine RBI in 77 plate appearances.
Gomez entered Saturday’s game slashing .312/.385/.584 with 10 home runs, 25 RBI, and seven stolen bases, a very nice follow-up to last season’s All-Star campaign.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.