The Cleveland Indians are entering a key part of their schedule starting tonight when the Twins come in for a three game series at Progressive Field.
Those are the only home games the Tribe will play until Labor Day, when the Orioles come in, and in between, the Indians visit Atlanta and Detroit for three game series, the teams with the best record in the National League and second best mark in the AL, respectively.
When the Orioles depart Cleveland on September 4th, we should have a pretty good idea whether or not all 162 games on the schedule will be meaningful for Terry Francona’s squad.
To get through these dozen games, the Tribe will need to start scoring runs.
While the Wahoo’s have a 10-10 record for the month, they have done so scoring just 71 runs in that span, an average of 3.5 per night.
Teams that score that way on an everyday basis just don’t have a lot of success.
The White Sox are last in the American League in scoring, crossing the plate an average of 3.74 times per contest. They have the second worst record in the junior circuit at 52-74, and over the last 20 games, Cleveland isn’t even scoring at that level.
At some point, the bats have to wake up and starting tonight would be very nice.
Since the Tribe still ranks fourth in the league in runs scored at 4.60 per night, the law of averages says there should be a bushel of runs coming soon.
It would be very odd to score almost five times a game for the first 117 games and then only get 3.5 for the balance of the season.
Odd, but not impossible.
There are some encouraging signs, like Nick Swisher’s sudden power burst, hitting four bombs this month, his second best calendar month of 2013. He hit five in May.
Still, during August only three players are hitting over .250: Yan Gomes, Mike Aviles, and Ryan Raburn.
While Gomes has been getting more playing time as of late because he is hitting, you would have to say that none of this trio are regulars, meaning the guys who are playing on a day in, day out basis simply have to pick it up.
Some of the numbers are straight out ugly—
Lonnie Chisenhall: 6 for 44 (.136), 1 HR, 3 RBI
Asdrubal Cabrera: 12 for 66 (.182), 1 HR, 6 RBI and he had a decent trip
Carlos Santana: 14 for 71 (.197), 3 HR, 6 RBI
Michael Bourn: 18 for 82 (.220), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 SB with a whopping 25 strikeouts
And they aren’t taking walks like they did earlier in the season, either. Outside of Jason Kipnis (10), Swisher (9), and Santana (9), no one else on the roster has walked more than five times this month.
Even the usually reliable Michael Brantley is in a bit of a funk, hitting just .230 in August. He is easily the most consistent of the Tribe bats and he is struggling.
The Indians’ starting pitching has exceeded expectations for the most part, and although they have had some hiccups, it has been solid.
And even if that continues, the offense has to start producing more runs if the Tribe wants to stay in the race through Game 162.
It’s time for the bats to pick up their share of the load.