The Cleveland Indians have had their struggles at the plate in the World Series, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the outfield. Can the Tribe overcome their offensive futility to get one more win?
It’s not a secret that offense has been at a premium for every team in the Major League Baseball postseason in 2016. Pitching has been dominant in October, and the Cleveland Indians have seen their fair share of struggles at the plate.
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Despite leading the Chicago Cubs 3-2 in the World Series, Cleveland is averaging just over three runs per game, and slashing a collective .236/.315/.373. The Indians’ pitching staff has been lights-out against Chicago, sporting a 1.84 earned run average and yielding an even more dreadful .210/.281/.311 opposition slash line.
The Tribe’s outfield, in particular, has been horrendous at the dish in the Fall Classic, sporting a collective .170/.228/.208 slash line, with just two doubles and three runs batted in. That is futility of an epic level, and could ultimately come back to bite the club.
Here’s how Cleveland’s outfielders break down in this series through five games:
Lonnie Chisenhall: 1-for-13, two runs scored, one RBI
Coco Crisp: 2-for-7, one run scored, one double, one RBI
Rajai Davis: 3-for-15, two runs scored, one double
Brandon Guyer: 1-for-7, one run scored, one RBI
Michael Martinez: 0-for-2, one run scored
Tyler Naquin: 1-for-5
Carlos Santana: 1-for-5, one double
Looking at those numbers without any context, it would be tough to imagine the Indians being in the position they’re in. Yet, a closer look reveals that the little production the unit has had has come in big spots.
Guyer’s RBI came when he was hit by pitch by Jon Lester in Game One, and gave the Tribe a 2-0 lead early. That single RBI for Crisp? It was the lone run scored in Cleveland’s 1-0 Game Three win. Chisenhall’s run driven came on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning of Game Four, extending the lead to a much more comfortable 4-1.
As manager Terry Francona has preached throughout the postseason, the Indians just want to be one run better than their opponent in every game, and though the outfield has done little offensively, they’ve made their meager production count.
It remains to be seen what Tuesday’s Game Six at Progressive Field will have in store for Cleveland as it attempts to clinch the championship against the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta. One timely hit or crucial play could make all the difference. Thus far in the series, the Indians’ outfield hasn’t done much. A breakout game from the unit could be just what the Tribe needs to finish the job.