When Terry Francona signed on as Indians manager last year, it was his second coming to Cleveland (having partially grown up here when his father played for the Indians (1959-64), but it wasn’t, you know, The Second Coming. Still, it was generally regarded that he was a huge improvement over any manager the Indians have had in years. I figured one would be hard-pressed to find anything that, say, Manny Acta did better than Terry Francona. And yet there is. And not something funky like, winning percentage on Tuesday nights in parks in the Central Time Zone. Under Acta, the Indians hit better (or at least as well) against right-handed pitchers than they did in their first season under Francona.
In 2013, the Indians were 8th in the AL in runs scored against right-handers (493), but that drops to 11th in the league by batting average (full line is .247/.320/.402). In 2012, we hit .259/.330/.396 against right-handers. Oddly enough, the numbers from 2011, Year Two of the Manny Acta Experiment, are almost identical to 2013: 493 runs and line that read .247/.314/.403. For the record, the Indians scored 491 runs against right-handers in 2010 with a .249/.322/.388 line. In table form, it looks like this:
Fortunately, the Indians hit left-handers much better last season than in 2012 (217 runs scored and last-in-the-AL .234 average in 2012 vs. a league-leading 252 runs scored and .271 average in 2013). The improved hitting and runs scored against lefties brought total runs scored up from 667 (13th in AL) in 2012 to 745 (5th in the AL) in 2013. I don’t think Tito needs to start calling Manny for advice or anything, but if the Indians hope to have another 92-win season and a shot at the playoffs, they need to hit and score on right-handers more consistently.