Clean baseball: Tribe’s success in second half lies within their own hands, literally
DETROIT — When it comes to the one area where the Indians have to make a major improvement in the second half, the opinion is unanimous — they have to be better defensively.
Going into Friday night’s game against the Tigers, the Tribe lead the Majors with 76 errors, which is five more than Arizona. Yan Gomes (11) and Asdrubal Cabrera (14) lead their respective positions in the American League in errors while third basemen have combined for 22.
"I think we’ve always said that, for us to be the team we want to be, we’ve got to play clean. We’ve had a lot of periods where we haven’t and we’ve made it harder to win than we need it to be," manager Terry Francona said. "You can’t just push a button, though, and change that, but that’s certainly something that we know we need to get better at. I think that will allow us to get better in other areas."
The Indians have committed an error in 53 games, including five where they had three. They are 23-30 in games in which they commit an error compared to 24-17 in ones where they play clean.
INJURY UPDATE: Justin Masterson said he doesn’t know how many innings he will throw in his rehab start in Columbus on Sunday. Masterson, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 8 with right knee inflammation, is eligible to come off Wednesday.
Michael Bourn, who went on the DL with a left hamstring strain on July 6, has remained in Cleveland for this series and is running on the AlterG treadmill, which allows for non- to low-weight-bearing running. Bourn will transition to land-based work over the next couple days and is expected to join the team in Minnesota on Monday.
BACK IN LINEUP: Chris Dickerson, who missed the last two games before the break due to a tight left hamstring, is back and will bat ninth. Dickerson, who was acquired from Pittsburgh on July 7, has a hit in all five games he has played for the Indians and is 8 for 18 with four runs scored and an RBI.
Unfortunately for the Indians, Victor Martinez is also back. The former Tribe catcher missed the last eight games before the break due to his back. Four of Martinez’s 10 hits against the Tribe this season are home runs. In 54 games against his former club, Martinez is batting .362 (72 for 199) with 21 doubles, nine home runs and 46 RBI.
"I guess we’re hoping there’ll be some rust. That’s maybe a reach," Francona said. "He’s probably the perfect protection to Miggy (Cabrera). He’s a switch hitter that puts the ball in play. He’s having a fantastic year. We’ve had our troubles getting through the middle of their order without getting nicked up, and he’s a big part of that."
DRAFT DEALINGS: With Friday being the deadline to sign draft picks, the Indians ended up signing 30 of their 42 selections. The highest pick not to sign was pitcher Grayson Jones, who was selected in the 14th round. Jones will be a sophomore at Shelton State (Ala.).