B-Mets report: Gomez's streak ends

Carlos Gomez's hitting streak ended at 18 games with an 0-for-3 performance in the Binghamton Mets' 4-3 victory over New Hampshire Wednesday.

But the Eastern League's longest hit streak this season represented a step forward for the free-swinging centerfielder, who has been widely regarded as one of the Mets' top prospects for his high ceiling and raw talent.

"They wanted me to take more pitches," Gomez said. "But I can't hit like that. If you don't swing, you can't hit."

The surge in Gomez's production continued a trend for the Dominican Republic product, who signed with the Mets as a non-drafted free agent in July 2002.

After batting just .203 in 172 at-bats as a leadoff hitter, the 20-year-old has fared better lower in the order. Most often, Binghamton manager Juan Samuel has utilized Gomez as the No. 6 hitter, where he is batting .366 through 101 at-bats.

The improvement is no coincidence, Gomez said. While the Mets are eager to see Gomez utilize his speed as a table-setter – he has stolen 23 bases in 31 attempts this season - Gomez sees himself as a power hitter.

"For leadoff, I have to put the ball in play and I shortened my swing," Gomez said. "When I'm lower in the lineup – six, five – I can swing hard. I want to be the big guy in the lineup. That's what I like."

Samuel said that Gomez's hot streak was indicative of his talent level, but by no means should Gomez be considered a finished product. His pitch selection in particular needs polish; Gomez has struck out 63 times in 298 at-bats entering Thursday's action, and has walked just 15 times.

"I still think he needs a lot of work," Samuel said. "He's still very, very raw. His whole game needs to be refined, for me.

"The best thing on him is that the tools are there – it's just a matter of him knowing situations and when to do things. For me, those things are going to be important for him."

Gomez had hit in every game for Binghamton since the second contest of a doubleheader on July 6 at Bowie, when he went 2-for-3 with a run batted in.

Over the 18-game streak, Gomez batted .441 (30-for-68) with 30 runs scored, nine doubles, two triples, two homers and 10 RBI. The streak raised Gomez's average from .225 after the first game on July 6 to .272, where it resides entering Thursday's play.

"I've learned how to play the game smart," Gomez said. "I don't care about my average or things like that. I want to think about situations and be a smart baseball player.

"I don't care if I'm hitting .280, .300. I want to bunt runners over, hit a fly ball when I need to, and play perfect defense."

State of the B-Mets: Winners of seven straight entering Thursday's play, Binghamton is making a late push to re-enter the Eastern League's pennant race.

With a record of 53-49 (.520), Binghamton is 3 ½ games behind first-place Portland in the Northern Division and trails second-place Trenton by one game.

Binghamton leaderboard, offense: Michel Abreu's .342 (101-295) batting average is the best among Mets minor leaguers … Ambiorix Concepcion (.293) and Jorge Padilla (.292) are also in the Mets' Top 10 … Jay Caligiuri's 15 home runs are tied with Hagerstown's Nick Evans for most in the system. Michel Abreu is third with 12 homers … Caligiuri's 50 RBI are fourth in the organization, with Abreu fifth with 49 … Carlos Gomez's 23 steals are the most in the system, with Ambiorix Concepcion ranking second with 21 … Binghamton's .247 team average ranks third in the system, and the B-Mets lead the system in home runs (74) and strikeouts (861).

Binghamton leaderboard, pitching: Michael Devaney's 2.00 ERA is second only to Brooklyn's Jake Ruckle (1.96) for the system lead. Mike Pelfrey is third with a 2.45 mark … Devaney's 10 victories are tied with Norfolk's Evan MacLane and Hagerstown's Jonathon Niese for best in the system … Binghamton's Henry Owens has 14 saves, second only to St. Lucie's Carlos Muniz (23). Matt Lindstrom is tied for fourth with nine saves … Devaney's 111 strikeouts are second to Niese's 112. Pelfrey is third with 103 … Binghamton's 3.47 staff ERA is third in the system. They lead Mets farm clubs with four complete games and nine shutouts.

ON THE RISE

Right-hander Miguel Pinango threw the fifth no-hitter in Binghamton Mets history on Sunday, rightfully earning selection as the Eastern League's Pitcher of the Week.

The 23-year-old had a perfect game through 6 1/3 innings but settled for a seven-inning no-hitter at Portland after Corey Ragsdale committed an error. He allowed just one hit over 12 shutout innings last week, also pitching five scoreless innings in a no-decision at Trenton.

TOUGH TIMES

Since returning to the B-Mets from wrist and hamstring injuries, outfielder Bobby Malek is batting just .138 (4-for-29) through eight games.

Malek did combine with Carlos Gomez to hit back-to-back home runs on July 22, helping the B-Mets defeat Portland.


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