During my final summer of travel baseball, prior to attending Thiel College, I played for a summer team called the Ohio Orioles that was managed by former Indians minor league catcher D.J. Santiago. At various times of the season when our team had played poorly, Coach Santiago would gather the team after the game to chat about our performance. If there was anything that I remember from those conversations, I remember how D.J. would quote Albert Einstein- “The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result.”
Of all of the coaches that I had the opportunity to play for in my career, Coach Santiago just knew what to say and when to say it. If I were Manny Acta, I would hope that he would mention this quote to the players tonight after another sub-par performance. Tonight the Indians were held to just two hits as Brett Anderson and two relievers blanked the Indians by a score of 3-0. For those of you keeping score at home, the Tribe has only managed to plate 11 runs in their past 7 games; Even worse, the lineup has scratched out a meager 19 hits in the teams last 4 games. Perhaps it is time for a change?
Although Matt LaPorta has only a few at-bats since his recall from AAA, it is becoming even more noticeable with each at-bat why LaPorta cannot stick in a big league lineup. Watching his swings tonight (he struck out twice) it is fairly easy to see that his bat seems to lag behind on his swing. This “slow” bat speed prevents him from driving the ball with authority, something that the Indians had to hope he would eventually figure out. All of that aside, its difficult to imagine any team winning a ballgame that features Jason Donald, Lou Marson, Brent Lillibridge, and Matt LaPorta in its lineup.
So, what can the team do to improve and compete in this final month of the season? The meager offense could be addressed by allowing some of the September call-ups an opportunity to play over the final month of the season. Guys like Tim Fedroff, Russ Canzler, and Jared Goedert all have had some decent success hitting for power in Columbus and could potentially provide the lineup with some juice for September; however, it is hard to imagine Manny Acta fitting these guys into the the line-up considering how loyal he has been to guys like Shelley Duncan and Brent Lillibridge. As far as pitching goes, the cupboard in Columbus is almost bare. Most of Columbus’s pitching staff has made an appearance in Cleveland at some point this season (Jeanmar Gomez and Scott Barnes), and the members of the staff who have not been in Cleveland certainly have not performed well enough to warrant a call-up. It seems as if the staff in Cleveland will have to find a way to pitch better in order to have a more successful September.
The fact is that the Cleveland Indians are 11-32 since the All-Star break, with one of the league’s worst offense’s in that span. If Manny Acta and the Dolans believe that placing the same product on the field will eventually bring different results, perhaps they need to talk to Coach Santiago.
One Final Quick hit- Indians starter Roberto Hernandez left tonight’s game with an apparent ankle injury as a result of covering home plate in the second inning. Stay tuned this week for his status to see if he misses a start.