Photo Credit: Cleveland.com
Nobody said it was going to be easy scoring runs when Tyler Naquin is your 3-hole hitter, but man I sure did think it was going to be easier than what the Indians have shown over the past 2 games. As a lifelong baseball fan, I know typically pitching dominates in the early portion of the season and it takes time for the bats to warm up (unless your name is the Dodgers), but two runs over your first two games is just awful. Over the Indians first two games the Indians have manages just 6 hits and a whopping 26 strikeouts against Twins’ pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jose Berrios, neither of which are considered to be top pitchers in their league let alone their division. While the offensive struggle has been seen from top to bottom in the lineup, the main cause for concern is with the top three hitters for Terry Francona’s ballclub, Leonys Martin, Jose Ramirez, and Tyler Naquin. The three have combined for just one hit, a double by Martin, 11 strikeouts and no RBI’s. While I understand Naquin is only in the 3-hole to replace the injured SS Francisco Lindor, his performance has him on the early track back to Columbus rather than solidifying his shaky career as a big league hitter.
While the lineup may not be ideal to start the year, management and fans alike know there is help along the way for the offensively challenged Indians ballclub. Within the next few weeks, the Indians are expected to get their injured middle infielders back in Jason Kipnis and Lindor. We all know what Lindor is capable of, the addition of Kipnis, who’s 2018 season was not impressive, to say the least, having a hitter who has the ability to get hot at any moment could help the Indians offense in a big way. The Indians also signed former Colorado Rockie Carlos Gonzalez late in spring training. Gonzalez, a career .287 hitter, can add some pop to the bottom half of the order. If worst comes to worst, the Indians have OF Oscar Mercado in AAA Columbus ready for action. Mercado, who was acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals late in 2018. The outfielder, who spent the majority of spring training with the major league club, batted .400 in 21 games adding 3 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 homers to go along with good defense. Another option the Indians may turn to is OF Cameron Maybin who was just signed on Friday. While I don’t expect the Indians to rely on Maybin too much this season, it is always nice to have a 12-year big leaguer in AAA in case of emergency.
Yes, I know it has just been two games, but those two games have not been impressive. Help is on the way for the Indians as they overcome injuries and get their late signees enough at bats in the minors. It’s not time to hit the panic button yet, but the struggles the Indians have shown early in the season could be a cause for concern for the rest of the year.