This is getting unbearable to watch.  Good teams usually don’t have streaks like this over the course of a season.  Sure, every team goes through its ups and downs during the season, but rarely do you see playoff caliber teams endure a streak like the Indians have endured over the past week or so.  Just for good measure, there has only been one team in history to win the World Series with a losing streak greater than seven games, and that was the 1953 New York Yankees who had a losing streak of nine games.  It’s frustrating for fans to watch, because we all saw the potential this team had during their great stretch in May.  Now I’m not saying it’s time to give up just yet.  There’s still a long way to go in the season, and there’s still time to turn this thing around.  However, I know for sure that streaky teams are rarely ever that successful.  Streakiness is never really a good thing in baseball because streakiness implies bad streaks as well.  Good teams are able to consistently minimize these streaks, unlike what the Indians are doing right now.

I thought that maybe the offense was going to breakthrough tonight after Carlos Santana hit his big three run double in the 3rd which temporarily gave the Tribe a 3-1 lead.  These are the types of hits that the Tribe has lacked during their losing streak.  Instead, the Indians went hitless the remainder of the game.  A couple things are on my mind with the offense right now.

I still have no idea why Michael Brantley continues to bat in the middle of the order.  Dating back to my articles in Spring Training it has never really made sense to me.  A lot of people that defend this move talk about how Brantley “never changes his approach” and thus he can hit anywhere in the lineup.  This reasoning makes no sense to me.  Michael Brantley is a really good player and a very consistent hitter; please do not get me wrong because I’m a big fan of Brantley.  However, driving in runs is a skill set in baseball.  Michael Brantley has a lot of great skill sets, but being a run producer is not one of them.  Santana, Swisher, Reynolds, Giambi…these are guys that have track records of putting up decent RBI totals (even though they might not all be producing during this current stretch).  Brantley has never been this kind of player.  He only has 11 extra base hits on the season!  Brantley’s strengths lie in his consistent approach, ability to take what the pitcher gives him and his eye at the plate.  He is primarily a singles hitter, which makes him much better suited for the top of the order or even the bottom third of the order as well.  I would honestly rather see Asdrubal Cabrera (when healthy of course) or Jason Kipnis hit in the middle of the lineup than Brantley.  I apologize for going on a rampage about this, but this has never really made any sense to me.

The other major thing about the offense I want to mention is Mark Reynolds.  Mark Reynolds now looks like the strikeout machine everyone was expecting to see when we signed him this offseason.  That’s ok, strikeouts have always been his downfall.  The problem is that he isn’t doing anything else to make up for it offensively.  Mark Reynolds does not have an RBI since May 29th, which happens to be when he hit his last homer as well.  I think Terry Francona needs to bring Lonnie Chisenhall back up ASAP.  First of all, Chisenhall is scorching hot in Columbus and seems to have found his stroke.  He could also provide a much needed spark to this team potentially too.  Also, Mark Reynolds is absolutely HORRIBLE at third base.  He has a UZR of -3.5 at 3B this season, compared to a UZR of 1.3 for Chisenhall.  I think playing 3B has greatly affected Reynolds’s offensive production as well, and he needs to go back to being our full time DH.

My last major rant of the day is Nick Hagadone.  Hagadone really frustrates me, maybe more so than any other player on the Tribe right now.  However, the reason I get frustrated watching Hagadone is that this kid has all the talent in the world.  I’m really big on his potential and his arm.  He has everything you would want for a back end of the bullpen type guy.  Terry Francona is almost forced to bring him in at times to match up lefty on lefty with opposing hitters in high leverage situations, as Hagadone is much more likely to get the strikeout than the other Tribe lefty Rich Hill.  Hagadone has responded terribly though by giving up a number of crucial, game changing hits by the opposition as he did to Lance Berkman tonight.  He has an awful LOB% of 54.1%, which means that he has let a lot of inherited baserunners score as well.

At the end of all my articles I try to leave a sense of optimism with the readers and I’m sure there are times I am successful and I’m sure there are times I am not.  However, a silver lining can always be found if you look for it, even in the toughest of situations.  If anything, the Tribe has the right people in the clubhouse to keep this team together and fighting.  Terry Francona genuinely believes in this team, and he’s let them know this.  Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi are two of the best clubhouse guys you can find on a team, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the chemistry of this team will hold at the very least.

If that silver lining wasn’t good enough for you, then I’m about to one up myself…JOHN MCDONALD IS BACK IN THE HOUSE TRIBE FANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  In all seriousness, I loved “Johnny Mac” back in his early days with the Indians.  He was never a significant player, but I always thought he was a class act and went about his business the right way.  He also was a spectacular defensive player who was able to make a number of highlight plays whenever he was called upon.  Obviously, this is a pretty insignificant move for the Tribe, but nonetheless, I’ll be happy to see him back in a Tribe uniform.  Maybe he can bring some luck to our guys right now, because they need it.


  • Steve Alex says:

    Brantley hits in the middle of the order because he hits, he hits with RISP and he drives in runs. Yes, it is with a single, but that’s better than anyone else has been doing. It is out of desperation because no one else on the team can drive in a run. But you are right; we won’t win the World Series with a singles hitter batting 3rd or 4th when the competition has the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Mark Texeiera in those spots. Watching Nick Swisher try to be a cleanup hitter has been agonizing to watch.
    Hagadone never regained his command after Tommy John surgery. The walks, the meatballs down the middle of the plate, those are the result of his inability to put the ball where he wants it. It happens. Fixing the ligament and being able to throw hard again are only half the battle when you have UCL surgery. At least he’s not punching walls.

    • Ryan Pinheiro says:

      You make a lot of valid points there Steve. I wouldn’t really say that Brantley “drives in runs” though. Kipnis has more RBI than Brantley from the second spot in the lineup, and Asdrubal Cabrera has just one less RBI than Brantley in almost 20 fewer AB. Yeah Swisher has had a tough go at it, but his 22 RBI in his off year is only 4 less than the 26 RBI Brantley has. You would have to imagine that once Swisher gets hot, and he will eventually, he’ll definitely start breaking away from Brantley in the RBI department.

  • Erod says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more about bringing Chisenhall up. I can’t fault Reynolds bc when he signed it was to be playing first not third. And could it be coincidence that he was our offense and one of the leaders in MLB when he was able to just focus on hitting? If anything I think Tito needs to make this move for Reynolds bc it’s not fair that he was one of the main guys carrying this team early on and now fans are on the “typical Mark Reynolds” wagon. However with the trade of McDonald now, I’m not sure who they are going to send down to bring Chisenhall up. And just another point, we’ve seen this happen in the past where they bring someone new up and they help ignite the team (Cabrera, Kipnis…).

  • NHTribeFan says:

    For Father’s Day, 2009, my boys bought me MLB ExtraInnings…the Tribe proceeded to lose 97 games. The last 4 years they’ve given me MLB AtBat audio, which keeps me connected to my Tribe. However, listening to Tom Hamilton during last night’s game, I was certain that he was going to open a vein “on-air”…he was so dejected. I felt the same way.

    This team always seems to be 1-2 pitchers and an impact player away from strong playoff contention. The winning years, they either had a tremendously potent offense or multiple #1 starters. This year, offense (and defense) are inconsistent, and Masterson is their only #1 – but still prone to that one-pitch mistake that keeps him from being a true Ace.

    All of that said, I think we’re heading in the right, long-term, direction. Tonight, I’ll listen to the game again, as I always do…and, hopefully, they will snap this streak!

  • The Doctor says:

    acquiring john mcdonald… ugh, just ugh. as if we needed more guys on the big league club that can’t hit. if he sniffs the major league roster we are in serious trouble (assuming you think we aren’t already).

    reynolds is clearly worthless at 3b, but where his slash line numbers stand right now are about right for him careerwise. i sincerly hope nobody thought he was actually going to hit .300 all year. why would anyone pitch to him when the guys around him can’t hit their way out of a paper bag? swisher and (oh god, trying to keep myself from laughing) giambi don’t scare anyone.

  • Cbus Tribe says:

    I guess everyone is right when they say this isn’t the same Tribe team that we’ve come to know the past couple years. Those teams would wait until the All Star break to slide, this team isn’t waiting.

  • phil williams says:

    Reynolds is dreadful at 3b but Aviles lokks like a hockey goalie at ss. He throws himself at groundballs. Left side of infield.must. get.bettsr for team to improve.

  • The Doctor says:

    just saw chris mcguiness is in the lineup for texas tonight. chance that he hits at least one home run against us: 100%.

  • GerryS says:

    Couldn’t agree more about Brantley; he is more a top two or bottom three hitter. Just doesn’t show ANY power. Don’t know about Masterson being a true ace either. He’s starting to show some “chinks” in his last few starts. Think I’d wait until the all star break to call up Chis again. Let him have another month to have some success and build up his confidence, then bring him up for a make or break second half. If he can’t cut it then, maybe he’s another LaPorta. (hope that isn’t the case)

  • Terry says:

    Hey weren’t you guys in first place a couple of weeks ago?..

    Seattle Mariners fan

  • Sean Porter says:

    Anyone think we’ve underestimated Kluber a bit?

    Coming into tonight, he had 57 strikeouts in 57.1 innings, while only walking 12. Then, he shuts down the Rangers. Granted, Texas’ offense this year isn’t the typical juggernaut they usually trot out, but considering the Tribe’s track record vs Texas for the last, well, as long as I’ve been watching them, it was pretty impressive.

    Man I hope Carrasco figures it out eventually too.

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