The Cleveland Indians lost four out of six games on their trip to Minnesota and Seattle after the All-Star Game despite outscoring their opponents 25-14 in the contests.
The Tribe ranks 4th in the American League in runs scored, yet it seems like they struggle to score runs on a nightly basis.
The Indians have scored more than 10 runs nine times this season, scoring 117 of their 479 tallies in those games. That means they have put 24% of their runs on the board in those nine games, which represent 9% of their schedule.
The question is this: Is this normal?
We checked the American League leader in runs scored, the Boston Red Sox, to see if Cleveland’s situation was abnormal.
The Red Sox have scored ten or more runs 11 times, putting up 126 runs of their season total of 519 in those games. That would be the same 24% as the Tribe’s total.
The Detroit Tigers are second in the AL in scoring. They’ve gone above 10 runs in a game ten times, scoring 110 of their 505 runs in those contests. That’s 22% of their total.
Here is a chart, which also includes the top three scoring teams in the National League:
Times 10+ Runs in 10+ games Total Runs Percentage
Cleveland 9 117 479 24.4%
Boston 11 126 519 24.4%
Detroit 10 110 505 21.8%
Baltimore 7 74 490 15.1%
St. Louis 13 146 492 30.0%
Cincinnati 10 119 456 26.0%
Colorado 7 75 445 17.0%
It appears the Indians’ offense is fairly normal compared to the other top scoring teams in the major leagues. You probably would want an offense like Baltimore’s, which according to these numbers would seem to be more consistent.
On the other hand, Colorado has the most similar offense to the Orioles and they have a losing record. And before you blame their pitching, it ranks in the National League where the Indians’ rank in the AL (12th).
However, when the Tribe scores over 10 runs, they really score over 10 runs. They average 13 runs per game when they get into double figures, a full run more than the Reds. Having two games where they scored 19 runs helps build your total.
In the 92 games where they haven’t scored in double digits, they average less than four runs per night (3.9). The Tigers and Orioles score 4.4 runs in their non-10 run games, and the Red Sox get 4.3 runs in those contests.
It’s tough to win when you can’t score four runs per game on a consistent basis.
So, maybe the people who say that GM Chris Antonetti needs to get another bat are correct. The offense needs to be more consistent. The Tribe doesn’t need to score another run per game, but averaging another half run would be nice.
It would allow the starting pitchers to pitch in less stressful situations.
Obviously, having Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher get back to their normal numbers would help, but this team needs more runs to stay in the race and it has to come from somewhere.
Let’s look at it another way. The league average for OPS is 726. Right now, the Tribe has only six batters above average, and only four are regulars: Jason Kipnis (892), Carlos Santana (837), Nick Swisher (746), and Asdrubal Cabrera (729). They also have two highly productive bench players above the mark in Ryan Raburn (914) and Yan Gomes (799).
By contrast, six Red Sox and Tigers’ regulars are above the mark, and Detroit has two more players above the mark on the bench.
There is no doubt that pitching wins in baseball. However, in the regular season, you have to score runs to make the playoffs. Despite the overall numbers, the Indians need help in that area.