Although there were a myriad of moments to break down from Sunday’s sweep-clinching 4-3 victory against St. Louis, perhaps the most exciting (and gut-wrenching) was Carlos Gomez’s potentially game-saving catch off Colby Rasmus in the top of the 9th inning. Let’s break down the video, which can be seen here.
Perhaps the most remarkable part of this play is Gomez’s initial position. The Brewers are playing Rasmus a shade to the opposite field in the outfield, a move which makes sense given the tendency of the typical player to hit balls in the air, specifically line drives, to the opposite field. As usual, click any image to embiggen.
Rasmus pulled the ball just ever so slightly, but enough to make Gomez run a long way to get it. Check out where Gomez makes the catch, just under the end of the batter’s eye:
From this picture and watching Gomez’s slightly curved path to the baseball, we can make a pretty good diagram of the path Gomez followed to make this play:
Those of us who know high school physics (or have a modicum of common sense) know that the shortest difference between two points is a straight line. Gomez’s path was anything but. Seeing as Gomez made the catch, it’s hard to argue with his path, but I think there’s more than just the result which validates Gomez’s dogleg to the ball. Gomez seems to be so familiar with the Miller Park dimensions and so good at following the path of a fly ball in the air that he can figure out exactly where he has to get to before backing into the wall, as he did in this play. Aside from his incredible range, Gomez has consistently made fantastic plays at the wall this year as wall. Toss his awareness of his surroundings in with his all-world athleticism, and you get the total package in center field. Once again, Carlos Gomez has made his presence felt in Milwaukee, doing exactly what the team needs him to do: save runs for the pitchers with his amazing glove.