Tribe week in review: Santana’s struggles, Kluber’s success
CLEVELAND — After taking three of four from Kansas City, the Indians had plenty of momentum as they left for a six-game California trip and a weekend series in San Francisco.
And then came a sweep to the Giants in which the middle of the order couldn’t do anything and the entire lineup couldn’t convert with runners in scoring position.
"We have good hitters. We just have to make better adjustments during games so it’s harder for opposing pitchers to get us out," manager Terry Francona said after Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Giants. "For whatever reason, we’re pressing and it’s probably different for each hitter."
The Tribe has scored three or less runs in 14 of their 25 games this season and are 3-11 when that happens.
Cleveland begins the week at 11-14, dropped seven of their last 11 and are three games behind Detroit in the A.L. Central. The three-games under .500 ties the low-water mark of the season.
A look back at the week that was and looking ahead to the next two series:
Game of the Week
Corey Kluber’s complete game against the Royals on Thursday where he allowed only one run (unearned) and four hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts. It was the first time since Len Barker’s perfect game that an Indians pitcher threw a complete game with at least 11 strikeouts, no walks and no earned runs and just the seventh by a Tribe pitcher dating back to 1914.
Since starting the season 7 for 24, Carlos Santana has gone 3 for 54 since then and is batting .122 for the year. Since Francona gave him the day off last Monday, Santana is 1 for 20. Francona has been adamant in his support for Santana, but one has to wonder how much longer he can have him batting cleanup. When reporters brought up moving Michael Brantley up one spot, Francona talked about late-game matchups with left-handers. For his career, Brantley’s average when batting cleanup is .243.
Once Carlos Carrasco is moved to the bullpen, there is no looking back, but the right-hander’s ERA rose to 6.95 after last Friday’s loss to the Giants. Over his four starts, batters have a .373 average against him the first 50 pitches thrown in a game. Carrasco retired the last nine Giants he faced, but by then the damage had been done. With how well Trevor Bauer is doing in Triple-A Columbus, if Carrasco doesn’t have a quality start on Wednesday against the Angels, a move should be made. Knowing Francona’s patience though, you have to wonder if five games is enough of a sample size for him.
Michael Bourn went 11 for 27 the past week and is batting .295 for the season. Of those hits, two were triples. The top of the order with Bourn, Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis was 28 of 84 for the week.
The middle of the order — Santana, Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera — was 0 for 29 in the Giants series.
Cleveland at Los Angeles Angels
First pitch: 10:05 p.m. Monday-Tuesday; 7:05 p.m. Wednesday.
Probables: Monday — RHP Justin Masterson (0-0, 4.50) vs. LHP Tyler Skaggs (2-0, 3.21); Tuesday — RHP Corey Kluber (2-2, 3.90) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (1-2, 4.11); Wednesday — RHP Carlos Carrasco (0-3, 6.95) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (3-2, 3.69)
Last season: The Indians were 4-2 against the Angels last season, including getting a sweep of the three-game series in Anaheim.
Of note: The Indians are an A.L.-best 27-9 against the AL West since the start of last season and are 2-1 this year. … The Angels are coming off a nine-game, 11-day road trip where they went 4-5, including dropping two of three to the Yankees over the weekend. … Angels lead the Majors in home runs with 37, including nine by Albert Pujols. … Former Tribe reliever Joe Smith has taken over as the Angels’ closer.
Chicago White Sox at Cleveland
First pitch: 7:05 p.m. Friday; 6:05 p.m. Saturday; 1:05 p.m. Sunday
This season: The White Sox took three of four during a series in Chicago April 10-13. … Indians are 6-7 against division opponents this season.
Of note: Rookie Jose Abreu’s 10 homers are the most by a White Sox rookie in any month and most by a Sox player in the month of April since Paul Konerko hit 11 in 2010. … Dayan Viciedo has a nine-game hitting streak and is 17 of 34 with five doubles, a home run and three RBI over that span.