The Indians have not won many baseball games lately. Coincidentally, they haven’t been a very good offensive team during that stretch. Over the course of a little less than a month the Indians have seen their once prolific offense (and place in the standings) tumble to the middle of the pack. During this stretch they’ve rarely scored more than three runs, and have routinely been shut out or held to only one run. Not good.
The real conundrum isn’t their inability to get runners on base. Rather, it’s their inability to drive them in. The majority of box scores of late have been flat-out depressing. Runners left in scoring position routinely in the double digits? Look no further. The Indians right now can’t buy a big hit. When they do manage to get a rally going the end result has been strikeouts and double plays. Their outs aren’t even productive at this point.
As a result of the Indians craptacular play, Manny Acta finally hit his breaking point last night. In an act of desperation, Acta completely shuffled the top of his order. In fact, he didn’t just shake it up. Acta twisted, turned it, and flipped it on its head. We had grown accustomed to a top 4 of Brantley, Cabrera, Sizemore, and Santana. Last night Acta turned in a lineup card featuring Sizemore, Santana, Brantley, and Cabrera. It made sense. Put Sizemore back at the top to get him going, put Santana #2 to take advantage of his on base percentage and rely on the two hottest hitters to drive in some runs.
It kinda, sorta, almost worked.
The Indians scored 1 run, but it was thanks to a Brantley triple and a Cabrera single. If the Indians are going to rely on two players getting on and driving each other in… they’re in trouble. Getting Travis Hafner back in the next few days should help things and if by some wayward miracle Choo finally pulls his head out of his ass and starts hitting, the Indians might turn it around… maybe.
I like the play by Acta though. He needed to try something crazy. The basic switching of a few guys here and there just wasn’t working. Maybe a few games of this current lineup will help. Maybe it won’t. It probably doesn’t help that The rest of the lineup has been in shambles, Lou Marson has been playing more than he should, and Cord Phelps is batting a whopping .071. So much for coming in and being the spark plug this club has been missing. You can tell the stage is bigger than him right now and he’s probably not ready for the show yet. How else do you explain 1 hit in 14 at bats with 5 strikeouts.
Like I said though, the Indians will go into tonight’s series opener with the Tigers once again with their new tweaked out lineup. Hopefully something clicks because the Indians cannot afford to be swept or lose 2 out of 3 to the Tigers. Entering play today they are in a virtual tie at the top of the AL Central standings. Some quality play over the course of the next three days may go a long way in curing what’s ailing the Indians right now.
Here goes nothing…
- Grady Sizemore, DH
- Carlos Santana, C
- Michael Brantley, CF
- Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
- Shin-Soo Choo, RF
- Orlando Cabrera, 2B
- Travis Buck, LF
- Matt LaPorta, 1B
- Jack Hannahan, 3B
- Justin Masterson
Tigers: Lineup has yet to be released
- Justin Verlander, P