CLEVELAND — Now that Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana have been moved down to the sixth and seventh spots in the order, the bigger question might be who takes their place?
Sunday was not a good indicator with Asdrubal Cabrera and Yan Gomes getting the day off. Mike Aviles was 0 for 4 batting second and Ryan Raburn was 0 for 3 hitting cleanup including striking out with the bases loaded in the sixth.
Cabrera is likely the best option to bat second. Over his career he has a .272 average when batting second and .276 when hitting third. When it comes to guys you can move around the lineup, Cabrera might be the most versatile on the roster.
Aviles is 15 for 85 when batting in the No. 2 spot the past couple seasons.
The bigger dilemma is who to put in the cleanup spot. Michael Brantley seems to make the most sense, but he is a .235 hitter in 35 career games. With the Jason Kipnis injury, Brantley has started to gain more confidence in the third spot and has a .315 average there this season.
David Murphy is 0 for 12 over his career when batting cleanup. Cabrera could also be an option as he had the third-most games there last season with 21.
As for when Swisher and Santana will begin to hit, time is beginning to run out. Since Swisher’s comments about the media focusing on only negative things, he is batting .157 (8 for 51) and has five errors on the season. Santana has hit safely in five of the past seven games but has committed errors in three of the past four.
After getting back within sniffing distance of .500 a week ago, the Tribe are 19-25 and 10 Â½ games behind Detroit with the Tigers coming for three games. With a couple roster moves last week, including taking Danny Salazar out of the rotation, and the weekend roster shakeup, the boat is beginning to take on water. Unless the Indians can right the ship quickly, it is beginning to shape up as a long summer.
Here are other things of note from the past week:
Game of the Week
There was only one as the Indians defeated the Blue Jays 15-4 on Wednesday. Six players had multi-hit games including David Murphy and Lonnie Chisenhall with five hits apiece. It marked just the third time in team history for teammates to collect five or more hits in the same game and only the second time in a nine-inning game. The only other time it happened in nine innings was on July 29, 1928, against the Yankees when Johnny Hodapp and Luke Sewell each had five hits.
Murphy went 12 for 23 with a home run and six RBI.
The starting rotation had a 13.88 ERA in the three games against Oakland. During the Indians’ four-game losing streak, the starters have worked just 15 2/3 innings while the bullpen has gone 19 1/3.
Detroit at Cleveland
First pitch: 7:05 p.m. Monday-Tuesday; 12:05 p.m. Wednesday.
Probables: Monday — RHP Corey Kluber (4-3, 3.38) vs. LHP Drew Smyly (2-2, 2.70); Tuesday — RHP Trevor Bauer (0-1, 1.50) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (5-2, 3.15); Wednesday — RHP Zach McAllister (3-4, 5.36) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (6-1, 1.83)
Season series: The teams split a two-game series in Detroit in mid-April.
Of note: Tigers have gone 20-7 since they last faced the Indians. … Detroit has won 11 straight road contests, which is the third-longest single-season road winning streak in franchise history and is the longest since a 17-game road winning streak from April 3-May 24, 1984. … Ian Kinsler is 24 for 66 since May 1 with five doubles, two home runs and six RBI. … Miguel Cabrera is 37 for 95 with six home runs and 32 RBI in past 23 games.