(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
The center of attention Tuesday night at Yankees Stadium wasn’t how the Houston Astros easily won a unanimous decision over the Yankees 15-1 which put New York a game back of the Toronto Blue Jays. Instead, Carlos Gomez who was almost wore a uniform of the cross-town Mets was the center of attention.
And for the Mets’ sake, keeping Wilmer Flores was the proper decision. For one thing, Gomez has not made much of an impact in Houston at the plate, and the other aspect of not bringing Gomez to the other side of town is his often and too much of a combative attitude.
Yes, the Yankees could not do anything against Astros’ left hander Dallas Keuchel. He has a 22.0 inning scoreless streak against New York, 2.1 with a 1.13 ERA, and Keuchel became the first 15-game winner in the American League with his 8.0 innings of six hit ball which also gained him more momentum for Al Cy Young Award consideration.
And the Yankees could not get their bats going again, attributed also to a dominant pitcher. The issue of the Yankees once again not scoring runs and getting on base should be more significant for manager Joe Girardi. And there should be this late August concern about right hander Ivan Nova, who gave up five first inning runs and allowed a season high seven runs.
But Gomez and that combative attitude got to Girardi and the Yankees. And on the other side of town the Mets may be relieved they don’t have to deal with a situation that Girardi and his team had to deal with when it came to Gomez.
With the Yankees trailing 9-0 in the sixth inning, and with Gomez at bat, he flied to center off a pitch from Chris Capuano and flipped his bat to the Houston dugout. Gomez said something and the Yankees took exception as the shouting went back and forth.
“When he came back he started yelling at me,” Girardi said. “I wasn’t the guy who said anything. He is a kid who plays hard. But there have been a number of clubs who have taken exception to some of the things he does on the field. He just got a little heated.”
And it went on. As Girardi said, “I just told him, ‘Play the game the right way.’ I know you missed a pitch and you are frustrated by it. I just think it is a little too much.”
Gomez, with that combative attitude would shout back three times, “Shut up” to Girardi and the Yankees bench. And of course that’s when the benches and bullpens emptied with no punches thrown because of the quick actions of the umpires.
But it was another Carlos Gomez incident that occurred on another bad night for the Yankees in the Bronx. And Gomez would later hit his second home run as an Astro, a three run homer to the Yankees bullpen in a six run seventh inning off Capuano, redemption, but not for the Yankees who saw Houston record eight extra base hits and three home runs.
The question is, has Gomez become a team player or one who can’t control this competitive and combative attitude on the field? The Yankees took exception to that fire as they got blown out, and those across town with the Mets may be fortunate they did not have to deal with a player who can spark controversy at any moment.
To the contrary, Houston manager A, J, Hinch was protecting his player. He said, “Carlos is just trying to compete. He’s an emotional player. Obvious they took exception to a few of the actions. It comes from a good place Carlos is just trying to compete. Obviously it is what is is and calmer heads prevailed. It’s a tough feeling on the other side when you have a game like that and it is starting to unravel. He’s an explosive player and can be an impact player If we get a confident version and tonight we saw the emotion,”
Said Gomez, “ I did not understand very well what people were yelling at me. I just asked, ‘Why are you yelling at me?’ And then someone came out of the dugout and started screaming, and I said. “Shut up. If you want to tell me something come here and say what you have to say.”
Of course it did not have to come down to the shouting. or the benches and pens coming on the field. Girardi said it is a game of emotions. and there were many times during the course of his playing career where things were said and he showed restraint.
However, Gomez does it his own way no matter how good a commodity he is for the Astros, or for that matter any team. Except the Mets were fortunate to renege on a Gomez deal in their quest to overtake the Nationals, because the last thing they needed was a combative player who would disrupt the good ship at Citi Field.
As for the Yankees, the good thing about baseball is Wednesday and another game with the Astros they need to win.