Examining the lineup

The good news is, Travis Hafner has turned his season around, swatting four homers in his last nine games while driving in eight runs and raising his average to .291, and Victor Martinez seemed to find a groove against the Rangers, totaling five hits in eight at-bats and driving in two runs.

Unfortunately, the bad heavily outweighs the good with this lineup. In last night’s win over the Angels, Aaron Boone had two hits for only the second time all season, his average currently sits at .139 and he’s slugging a pathetic .277. Coco Crisp hit a homer and stole a base last night but his overall numbers (.250, .304 OBP, 4 steals) aren’t anywhere close to what the Tribe expected from their leadoff hitter. In fact, Crisp has been so ineffective at the top of the order that Eric Wedge has tried several other guys in the leadoff slot, with Casey Blake and his .288 OBP getting a shot last night. Ugh. Ronnie Belliard’s hitting an okay .275 with six homers, Grady Sizemore’s hitting .260, Ben Broussard’s at .255 with only one homer and Jhonny Peralta’s hitting .231.

The Indians are second-to-last in all of baseball with 114 runs scored and a .233 team average, their .298 OBP ranks 28th out of 30 teams, their .385 slugging percentage is 24th and, despite ranking 11th overall with 34 homers, their 110 team RBI ranks 28th.

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the lineup once Juan Gonzalez and Jody Gerut return. Grady’s most likely heading back to the minors and, if Boone’s not hitting by then, we could see Blake slide back to third to open up right field. Then again, Blake hasn’t been any better than Boone so I’m not sure what that would accomplish. Some say Coco’s job is in danger but there isn’t anyone else on this team more capable of leading off than Crisp. He’s the only legitimate stolen base threat and while he hasn’t been getting on base consistently this year, his .344 OBP last year is at least somewhat respectable.

I realize the “it’s still early” excuse doesn’t really fly in the middle of May, but I still feel like this team will eventually start hitting. Hopefully the pitching staff can keep the Tribe afloat until that happens.

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