Look, I get it. Carlos Santana is finally starting to look like the guy we have expectations for, and he proved (finally) how much of a force he can be. This is the guy we want in the cleanup. But forgive me if I find myself taking a much more prudent approach before I declare him as now fully on board with the rest of the surging Tribe lineup.
I admit that I am an advanced stats agnostic. You can talk to me about his walks and his on-base percentage until you’re blue in the face, and I will likely tell you that walks are only as good as a guy can make them, and yes, that has to do with his friends. The harsh reality is this: The guy is still batting a paltry .171 after his supposed “breakthrough” game and that’s still nowhere near what he’s supposed to be, especially if you’re a lineup that still has some glaring holes. I am glad that he’s been excellent over the past week of games he’s been in (who knows if the concussion break gave him a reset button, but a lot of folks are jumping on that as well), but I’m keeping my enthusiasm tempered for the time being. If two hits and two walks is all it takes for many to throw parties, Indians fans in whatever means of social media would be downright unconscious when (or if) he ever goes 4-4 ever again. (I’m kidding! …Maybe.)
It’s fun to be a prisoner of the moment. I’m guilty of it, too. And I want my Scrooge-like ways to be shoved right back in my face. I want to be trolled with links to this very submission with all the schadenfreude you can muster.
But until we start to see some gradual improvement of more than one week, consider me skeptical in that he’s finally turned the corner. I may be the last one to buy in, and I’m okay with that. We are one full week into July, and the truth is exactly what my eyeballs see at this point. It’s probably best that you wait it out along with me, because it really sucks to get excited for ultimately nothing.
Considering how the rest of the lineup has had more success without him (and Swisher) flailing hopelessly for the first two months, it’s (to me, anyway) a minor miracle that they’ve been able to stay in contention for the postseason. The development of the other young guns in the lineup have certainly helped mask the shortcomings, but it certainly would be great if we saw this surge already.
Through it all, you have to start somewhere, and maybe this stretch truly is the spark. Better late than never, right? I might be the last guy to know, but I’d rather play it safe. Show me. It gets lonely being left out of the party.