Moss off to slow start with Indians

Brandon Moss has only two hits and no home runs in his first seven games with the Indians.

After Brandon Moss hit five home runs during spring training, most expected him to get off to a strong start. Instead, Moss has stumbled coming out of the gates in his first seven games with the Indians.

Going into the start of a three-game series at Minnesota on Friday, Moss is batting .100 (2-for-20) with no home runs and nine strikeouts. The past two seasons at the same point Moss was batting .320 last year and .333 in 2013.

"It is one of those things where I am kind of conflicted on my approach right now," said Moss, who was acquired in a trade from Oakland during the offseason. "I’m getting a lot of offspeed early but do you go up there and sit on offspeed early and look for that or do you stick to the middle of field approach and stay on things?"

Moss got the day off Wednesday after striking out four times in Tuesday’s loss to the White Sox. It was his first four strikeout game since May 12, 2013, when he played for Oakland.

While Moss’ batting average is down compared to past early starts, the fact that he hasn’t had a home run yet is not surprising. He didn’t have his first homer last season until his 19th at-bat and two years ago it didn’t come until the 21st at-bat.

The one difference though in Moss’ early approach is that he is taking more pitches. According to STATS LLC, Moss has taken 58.9 percent of all pitches this season. He is traditionally around 52 percent.

"I was trying to see more pitches to find timing and that comfort zone and every time I looked up it was 1-2 or 0-2. It’s hard to hit that way," Moss said. "It is one of those things that the more pitches you see and more at-bats you put together it will come. Obviously some good results would help."

Terry Francona, who often utters the phrase "you just can’t bottle hitting", isn’t concerned about Moss’ struggles and knows that there is some swing and miss in his game. He has also called Moss one of the stronger guys mentally who can get through any situation.

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"There’s lots of production in that bat and we’ll see it," Francona said. "That’s why you work hard in spring training to build a foundation. Regardless of the start you can handle what is in front of you and carry on."

Moss has had success at Target Park, going 8-for-24 with a home run and seven RBI.

When it comes to lack of power Moss is not alone. For only the third time under Francona, the Indians have gone five straight games without a home run.

The series with Minnesota begins a nine-game road trip of all division games. The Tribe went 11-8 against the Twins last season and are 12-7 at Target Field the past two years. Minnesota is coming in with some momentum after taking two of three from Kansas City.