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Yan Gomes continues to come up clutch during ‘spectacular’ season with Cubs

9 months agoTony Andracki

Jim Deshaies said it best during Saturday’s Cubs win:

“Yan Gomes has been very clutchy this year,” Deshaies said as Gomes drove home the game-tying run in the bottom of the 6th inning.

Gomes has certainly been “clutchy.”

There was the performance Saturday. On Sunday, he drove in the Cubs’ 1st run of the game as they streaked toward a sweep of the Rockies to close out the regular season slate at Wrigley Field.

Late in Sunday’s game, there was Gomes again — but this time on defense. With the Cubs clinging to a 1-run lead, Gomes threw out an attempted base-stealer in the 8th inning:

He kept it going Tuesday night in Atlanta, tapping a 54.1 mph ball just down the third base line to get the Cubs on the board first again.

“Yan’s a big part of this team,” David Ross said. “His year’s been spectacular from what he gave us last year, being able to build on that.”

The 36-year-old catcher signed a 2-year, $13 million deal with the Cubs prior to the 2022 season and spent last year as the backup to the incumbent Willson Contreras.

Gomes ended up playing in 86 games for the Cubs last year, hitting .235/.260/.365 (.625 OPS) and notching 0.8 WAR. He impressed the Cubs with his ability to handle the pitching staff and his defensive work behind the dish so entering 2023, the team felt confident rolling with him at the top of the catching depth chart.

Gomes has taken his play to the next level this year with a solid batting line (.272/.318/.410, .728 OPS), has driven in 56 runs and doubled his WAR over last season to 1.6 (per Baseball Reference).

All while providing a steadying presence behind the scenes. When the Cubs were struggling in the middle of the season, Gomes was one of the veterans Ross called on for counsel.

Gomes was part of the Washington Nationals team in 2019 that started out the year 19-31 before turning things around and eventually winning the World Series.

“He’s great in the clubhouse,” Ross said. “He’s a real leader, talks through things with the young pitchers and handles things really well.

“He’s thrown some guys out here lately especially and done a nice job of controlling the running game. He’s a big part of our success, for sure.”

That kind of veteran presence is key for a roster packed with young players — and in particular, young pitchers.

From Jordan Wicks to Javier Assad to Justin Steele, most of the Cubs pitching staff has not been in the midst of a playoff race. When they’re on the mound in pressure-packed situations, Gomes is there to help guide them.

“[He’s brought] stability and consistency,” Wicks said. “He never gets too high, never gets too low. He’s kind of that rock, that foundation that we all really need. And he comes up with a lot of big hits in a lot of big moments.

“He’s that veteran leader. He’s everything we need him to be.”

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