Cleveland offense continues to sink
MAY 06, 2014 12:00a ET
For the second time this year, the Tribe was blanked and held to three hits for the third time as they lost to Minnesota 1-0 in 10 innings.
Most thought on Friday that the Indians might be showing some signs of breaking out of their offensive slump after having 12-runs and 13-hits in a win over the White Sox. In the past three games though they have gone 17 for 94. If you go back to the past 10 games, Cleveland is batting .202 (65 for 322). For the season they are hitting .232, which is next-to-last in the American League. Last year at this point they were hitting .271.
"We just are fairly inconsistent now. Even in hitter's counts we're not getting good swings," said Terry Francona after Monday's game. "When it is team wide everybody is trying to do. It's a good quality but we have to fight through it together and keep the line moving."
Three of the regulars in the lineup are hitting .211 or less. Asdrubal Cabrera is batting .211 but Nick Swisher dropped below the Mendoza Line (.197) after going hitless in his last 11 at-bats although he did drive in a run with a sacrifice fly on Saturday. At times Carlos Santana has shown signs of breaking through but is still at .150. He has been able to get on base though with 26 walks, which is second in the American League.
"Everybody approaches it different. The team isn't hitting good. It can happen in July and at any time," Santana said. "I'm confident that we can come back and I can come back. There's no panic. Why? We just try to keep focus and not worry about a slow start."
The bad thing about the last two losses is that great efforts from the starters were wasted. In Sunday's 4-3 loss to the White Sox, where Corey Kluber had 13 strikeouts, George Kottaras homered twice but the Indians could have added more. Instead they were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left 12 on base.
On Monday, Zach McAllister tied a career high with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. On this homestand, the Indians starters have allowed just four earned runs in 27 innings pitched (1.33 ERA) with 33 strikeouts and only five walks.
When the rotation struggled throughout April, it was the bullpen that was able to come to the rescue. The past two games it has been the other way around as John Axford has allowed home runs, which resulted in a blown save and loss.
Eduardo Escobar's solo shot to right came on a 1-0 fastball. Axford was trying to go down and away but was way off.
"I wanted to erase what happened the day before. Unfortunately on the second pitch it didn't work out," Axford said. "It's something I have to think about and go over and be better the next time out.
"It's a shame that my performances the past couple days have precedence over the hitting performance by George and two great starting efforts."
The loss has the Indians back to six games under .500 and 2-2 on an important homestand against division rivals. They are also 7 1/2 games behind Detroit after the Tigers won their sixth straight on Monday.
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