There is no question the pitching staff has carried the Cleveland Indians in this year’s run to the World Series.
The Tribe has played ten post-season games to date, and they’ve allowed just 20 runs. Even the most challenged person, mathematically speaking, knows that’s just two runs per contest.
Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, and Josh Tomlin have been very stingy in allowing opponents to cross home plate.
With the World Series tied at one game apiece and no heading to Chicago, it’s time for the hitting, and there is no question the Indians’ bats are slumbering, to pick up their end of the heavy lifting.
In those same 10 games, Cleveland has scored only 34 runs, well below their average of 4.83 runs per contest in the regular season.
Yes, we know that the pitching is better in the post-season, and naturally teams will score less runs in the playoffs, but when you consider that 12 of those runs were scored in two games (ALDS Game 2 and World Series Game 1), it is another indication the bats are really struggling.
That means in the other eight games, the Tribe is averaging less than three runs a night. Based on that statistic, it is kind of miraculous that the Indians have won six of those games and have won the American League pennant.
Besides Francisco Lindor, who has batted .342 with 2 homers since the regular season ended, and Brandon Guyer (4 for 11 in his platoon role), and rest of the hitters have struggled.
Leadoff hitter Carlos Santana has only 5 hits in 35 at bats. He has walked four times, giving him an on base percentage of just .250. The #2 hitter, Jason Kipnis, is batting .154 with just three extra base hits in the playoffs.
Cleanup hitter Mike Napoli nudged himself over the “Mendoza line” with two hits last night, but he has only one homer in the 10 games and is striking out in over one-third of his at bats (12 whiffs in 34 ABs).
World Series Game 1 hero Roberto Perez has been feast or famine. He’s hitting just .200 (6 for 30), but does have four extra base hits and a team leading six RBIs, although three of those came on his three run blast in the 8th inning of that game.
The only other consistent batter outside of Lindor has been Jose Ramirez, and even he struggled throughout the Toronto series.
The offense does have 13 home runs in the playoffs, but they have only mustered 13 other extra base hits in the ten games, all of them doubles.
Rookie Tyler Naquin has continued his struggles, going 3 for 18 with 11 whiffs, but who do you replace him with? His platoon partner, Rajai Davis is just 1 for 19 and hasn’t really hit since the middle of September.
If Davis were swinging the bat well, it would make sense for Terry Francona to replace the rookie, but right now, why make the move?
The Indians have just four hitters with an OPS over 700 in the playoffs (Lindor, Guyer, Perez, and Coco Crisp).
There is talk about Santana playing LF in Wrigley Field, but at this point, that has to be Tito hoping he will get hot, because he hasn’t hit so far.
Playoff games are supposed to be tight contests, but right now, it feels like if the Indians fall behind in a game, then it’s over. At some point in this World Series, the bats will be needed to win a game. Heck, the Cubs only scored five last night, an offensive output like Game 1 would have won that game too.
It’s time for the hitters for the Cleveland Indians to join the party, whether it’s at Napoli’s or at Wrigley Field.