Offense Has To Be Early, Major Concern
By Christian Petrila
The old baseball saying says that “hits come in bunches.” Through five games for the Indians so far, the opposite must also be true.
The team is batting a collective .176. Now that that’s had some time to sink in, it should be pointed out that it is the worst batting average in all of baseball. In fact, it is a full .07 lower than San Diego, the team with the second-worst average.
Going in-depth on the Indians roster to see who’s producing isn’t much of a breath of fresh air. Jack Hannahan is hitting .313. Shelley Duncan is hitting a respectable .294. After that, the roster is overflowing with inconsistency. After Travis Hafner’s .267 average, no one on the team is hitting better than .250.
The three most disappointing starts so far are from Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and Casey Kotchman. They are hitting a combined 5-59. That’s not even a .100 average. Now granted, Kipnis does have a home run to his credit, but it doesn’t quite make up for his .095 average. It only gets worse with the other two. Brantley’s average is a dismal .059. One hit – an Opening Day double. As for Kotchman, he only has two hits. However, his case may be worse since he didn’t even manage to get a ball out of the infield until his 14th at-bat with the team.
It really is a shame that the lack of offense is letting these excellent starts from the pitchers go to waste. Despite Tomlin’s rocky start on Monday and Masterson’s on Wednesday, the starting rotation still boasts a tidy 2.81 ERA. That has been good for one win. Derek Lowe was responsible for the Indians’ lone win. Who saw that one coming? Be honest…
Although the bullpen has been shaky to say the least in the first week of the season, it isn’t likely to last. Chris Perez has settled down since his Opening Day debacle, and Vinnie Pestano was clutch the day after giving up a ninth inning home run to Kelly Johnson. Dan Wheeler and Rafael Perez had been sharp in their appearances as well until Wednesday. Joe Smith can’t/shouldn’t be overlooked, and Jairo Asencio has had solid moments as a long reliever despite being the losing pitcher on Opening Day. Tony Sipp had one bad outing, but nobody expects it to be a constant.
The Indians order of concern should be this: 1. hitting, 2. everything else. With the start Detroit has had, there’s no way this team can expect to compete hitting a measly .176. Sure, the best offense is a good defense, but the Indians offense needs to show signs of life, and pronto.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images