The Indians desperately needed to win two of three this week against the Tigers. They did the exact opposite and lost two of three. Their reward? Second place! WOO!
That’s right, the Indians are back in second place and facing an uphill battle from here on out.
Yesterday got off to a great start. Michael Brantely went all little league on the Tigers and hit an inside the park home run. Ok, it was a triple with a throwing error that allowed him to score, but for our purposes he hit a little league style home run. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a double and then Shin-Soo Choo, who all of a sudden is beginning to show signs of a pulse, tripled to put the Tribe up 2-0. In any other park in baseball his triple is probably a home run, but for whatever reason the Tigers thought it would be a good idea to place baseball in a stadium that mimics the Grand Canyon or Yosemite. I guess chicks don’t dig the long ball in Detroit.
Things were looking good. The Indians finally looked like they might have snapped out of their team wide slump. Then Mitch Talbot took the mound. I choose to blame him. As a team that’s struggling to score runs, coming out and hitting the ball all over the park in the first inning and taking a lead is a big boost. Watching your starter cough it back up the very next half inning… demoralizing. Don’t believe me? Take a look at what happened from their on out. With the exception of a few late inning mini rally attempts, the Indians didn’t do jack crap offensively the rest of the day.
So now the Indians find themselves in second place. Not in second place by percentage points. The Indians are a full game back of the Tigers, two back in the win column. Yes there is definitely plenty of time to turn this around, but how long do we need to keep trying to talk ourselves into that kind of thinking. The month of June has not been kind to the Indians at all and quite honestly, the end of May wasn’t much better. This little stretch they’re on is about as enjoyable as being forced to watch a weekend marathon of the Real Housewives of “fill in the blank.” I can’t take it anymore. Can we please just get a stretch of three or four quality wins to make us forget about the month of crap we’ve had to endure?
There is hope though. The Indians take on the Pirates over the weekend. Yes, the Pirates are playing better of late, but if ever there was going to be an opponent to help the Indians get themselves back on track, this is it. It should probably help that they’ll be getting Travis Hafner back on Saturday. His bat might be the key to waking everyone else’s bats up. Bring back the big guy in the middle of the lineup and it might take pressure off of everyone else. Next thing you know, they’re scoring runs again. At least let’s hope that’s how it works out. If not… then I don’t know what to do.
I do think that once Hafner comes back Manny Acta needs to retinker the lineup. Here’s what I would do.
- Michael Brantley
- Shin-Soo Choo
- Asdrubal Cabrera
- Travis Hafner
- Matt LaPorta
- Carlos Santana
- Grady Sizemore
- Orlando Cabrera/Cord Phelps/Jason Kipnis
- Jack Hannahan
I think this is the best possible lineup to go with, at least for the time being. Brantley should be leading off. That’s what he is and that’s what he’s been so good at this season. Choo looks like he might be coming around. I’d move him back up in the order and protect him with Asdrubal. Cabrera has been on fire all season and might get Choo better pitches to hit. Hafner is obvious.
After Hafner is where things get interesting. I think it’s time to see what LaPorta is made of. Move him up to 5 and see if he can’t finally be the big bat he’s supposed to be. If it doesn’t work Acta can simply bump him down to 7 and slide Santana and Sizemore up one spot each. Rounding out the bottom is the platoon of O-Cab and Cord “1 for his career so far” Phelps and Jack Hannahan… Provided they don’t finally bring up Chisenhall and/or Jason Kipnis from Tiple A.
Of course, as I’ve pointed out numerous times before, they don’t pay me to make these decisions. I could be completely wrong. I just know that what the Indians are running out there on a daily basis isn;t working right now. Why not shake things up a little bit? I think it’s worth consideration.