When the Cleveland Indians inked Nick Swisher to a four-year, 56 million dollar deal this offseason, Manager Terry Francona made it clear that Swisher would be placed smack-dab in the middle of the lineup.  He has done so, but has not gotten the results that he, and all Tribe fans, have wanted to see.  Swisher entered this game with a .238/.345/.387 line.  Those aren’t TERRIBLE numbers, but are certainly not the numbers you want your cleanup hitter sporting.  Although he has been hitting well as of late, Swisher simply hasn’t been hitting the way we had hoped.  One theory that could be argued is that there is too much pressure being put on Swish.  Last year with the Yankees, Swisher would hit all over the lineup, but never had the obligation of hitting fourth.  The spotlight wasn’t on him.  It was on guys like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.  Swisher seemed to thrive offensively in that situation, just simply being a solid clubhouse guy who produced at the plate.  Perhaps, Swish needs to have some of that pressure relieved.

It is possible that Francona may have a similar view on Swisher, as he slotted Swisher into the number 2 hole in the batting order.  Many speculated that the Tribe skipper had been toying with this idea, and he confirmed it on Monday night.  I loved this move, however, I wondered who would take over the cleanup spot.  Many Tribe fans have been clamoring for Chris Antonetti to acquire a starting pitcher before this year’s trade deadline.  I disagree.  There is no doubt that another solid arm could help this rotation, but there is a need for a legitimate bat to hit cleanup, which could do wonders for this lineup.  It’s easy to throw around names like Alfonso Soriano, Kendrys Morales, or Justin Morneau, but the reality is that it could take a lot to get a player like this, considering how many teams could also be pursuing them.  For now, Francona will fill out his new batting order with Asdrubal Cabrera in the cleanup spot.

In the first inning, Nick Swisher apparently was feeling pretty comfortable in his new spot in the batting order, as he blasted a solo home run to left field.  He followed this up with a single in the third, and finished the night 2-4.  Not too bad for his first showing in the two hole.  Other than Swisher’s bomb, Aaron Harang had his way with the Tribe, going 7 innings and only giving up Swisher’s homerun.  Cleveland could not get anything going at all for the rest of the game.  Seattle’s bullpen gave up no runs to give Harang the win.

On the mound for the Tribe was the mystery man Ubaldo Jimenez.  When I say mystery man, I mean that most of the time we do not know what we’ll see when he’s pitching.  Throughout this year, we have seen outings from the Big U that have shown brilliance, ineptness, and then a combination of both.  Lately, Tribe fans have seen Ubaldo yield only four or fewer runs in his recent starts, however, he has been unable to pitch into the late innings, making the bullpen pitch in tight situations (which hasn’t been good this season).  Tonight, we saw a decent outing, but again, only ate up 5 and 2/3 innings before handing the ball over to the bullpen.  Ubaldo gave up 2 home runs and struck out 6.  The rest of the bullpen pitched well, but again, the offense couldn’t deliver.

Looking ahead, the Tribe will play game 2 of their series in Seattle.  Taking the mound for the Tribe for the first time in quite a while will be Zach McAllister.  Remember him?

5 Comments

  • Aaron says:

    I drove 1000 miles from Wyoming to Seattle for this game. It started out positively enough. I had never been to a road Indians game before, and figured I’d be the only one there wearing a Tribe jersey. Surprisingly, there were quite a few of us spread around the stadium. The next surprise came at the announcement of the starting lineups when we learned swish and cabby had swapped places. Then swish homered to give us the early lead, and everyone was hitting the ball hard off of Harang, he of the 5 and a half ERA. Ubaldo looked decent, not giving up a hit in the first 3 innings, but as usual he struggled w location and his fastball topped out at 93. But once the Mariners tied it, you just had the feeling we had no chance. From the 4th inning until Tito came out to get Ubaldo, every Mariner crushed the ball but luckily, they only got the 2 runs. Meanwhile, the Indian offense gradually got more and more feeble. Once the M’s took the lead in the 5th, we went 3 up 3 down till the 9th when we managed to get Brantley in scoring position w 1 out. But no one could get the clutch hit and we had a quiet ride home with what feels to me to be a crushing loss. Coming out of the all star break, I had high hopes of seeing us extend our winning streak to 8 against 2 teams we should be able to beat. Instead, we have dropped 3 of 4 and its Seattle looking for the 8 game win streak tonight. As I walked out, I heard a fellow fan lament, maybe next year. I felt about the same, especially since the lackluster loss was combined w a Tiger win. The only other bright spot of my night at Safeco was looking at their 1995 ALCS banner, one of only 3 in the stadium, and remembering the result of that series. Sad day.

  • medfest says:

    I agree the Tribe needs an impact bat,Giambi has done well but they need more.

    Pitching staff has given up 9 runs(6 earned) in four games and has one win to show for it,yikes!

    • Swift says:

      Yes. After all the talk about the Tribe trying to pick up some pitching before the trade deadline, maybe what we really need is a bat. The pitching has been pretty good lately; frankly, in the AL, if your pitching only gives up 3 runs in a game, it should be a win. Maybe its time for Jason Giambi to become a coach or a “special assistant” and for the Indians to rent a real DH for the rest of the season.

  • shaun says:

    what we really need now (well at least for this week because every week its something different…) is a new drink called error-ade that will help to quench the insatiable thirst for f’ing up in the dugout and not on the field…

    • Jami says:

      Thank you. I’ve been trying to figure out how to vent all day. How in the world are we supposed to compete when we make 7 errors in five games!? That is unheard of and an embarrassment! The discipline on this team is pathetic. I came out of the all-star break excited and ready to get back to some baseball, but it doesn’t look as if the players did the same. Someone needs to step up or do something about it. Lack of offense combined with MISERABLE defense is not the way to get the city back on your side. It isn’t shocking our attendance is low. Every time this team gets close enough where people do start paying attention and listening to us die-hard fans, the Indians make a fool of themselves and prove why the city gives up season after season.

      Embarrassing.

      A truly frustrated fan.

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