Another tough week is in the books for the Cleveland Indians, as a team with high hopes continues to struggle mightily with the bats. A plethora of early-season injuries, including those to Michael Brantley (back) and Yan Gomes (knee), has the Indians set up to endure an extended rough stretch in the early part of this season.
But it’s still April and there’s 150-plus games still on the Indians’ schedule and there’s just 5.5 games separating the lowly last-place Indians and the first-place Detroit Tigers.
After the dreadful week that was Cleveland baseball, just about everyone could be lumped into the “not” category this time around. But let’s take a look at who’s hot and who’s not — and not even a little bit — during the second week of the season:
All the talk about Roberto Perez being a viable starting catcher doesn’t seem like such a stretch any longer, does it? Filling in for the injured Gomes, Perez has batted .250/.294/.438 over the last seven days. He has hit one of just three Indians’ home runs and scored three runs in the bottom third of the Tribe lineup. His brief tear in Minnesota boosted his season average to .269 and gave Perez a tie of the team lead with two round-trippers.
Trevor Bauer has pitched as well as anyone in the league — well, maybe anyone not named Bartolo Colon — over his first two starts for the Indians this season. He is 2-0 overall with a 1.50 ERA and 19 strike outs. In his lone start last week, Bauer threw six innings and allowed two earned runs in win against the White Sox. The only bad thing to note is that Bauer has put a lot of unnecessary runners on base, as he walked four batters in his last start. Fortunately for Cleveland, Bauer will be back on the bump to start a three-game set with the Sox. His career-long inconsistency invites doubt as to whether or not Bauer can sustain this success, but maybe he’s finally gotten over the hump.
Surprisingly enough, it is Lonnie Chisenhall who leads the team in hits over the last seven days. Still without a home run in 2015, Chisenhall has give hits and three RBIs for the Tribe, hitting .333/.353/.400 over the last seven days. His previous week was so poor, however, that the Tribe’s left-handed third baseman is still hitting just .242 on the season. He has shown the ability to get hot — and sustain that streak over the course of a half-season. With Gomes on the shelf and the rest of the lineup struggling, it just might be Chisenhall who can inject some life into the Tribe offense.
Should the Indians be worried about Bryan Shaw? Perhaps not yet. But, as Katrina Putnam points out, his numbers over the last two seasons are similar to the dominate days of former Tribe set-up man Vinnie Pestano. And we all remember how that turned out. Appearing in three games over the last week, Shaw has thrown just 1.2 innings and allowed four hits and one earned run for a 5.40 ERA. While those numbers don’t sound dreadful, take into account opponents are hitting .444 against him and he’s posted a 3.00 WHIP over that span. Those are not good numbers.
As a general rule, Indians’ starters have been very good early this season. Despite the lack of wins, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar have all looked sharp in their limited starts. T.J. House, however, has looked anything but sharp. After getting blown up for six earned runs in 1.1 innings against the Tigers in his first start, House went to the mound on Sunday with an opportunity for redemption — and a chance to win a series. He failed mightily, allowing five earned runs in 5.2 innings. He was uncharacteristically wild again and his inability to throw first pitch strikes killed him as the game progressed. He now sits at 0-2 with a 14.14 ERA and a real shot at getting demoted. Is Shaun Marcum still ready?
It’s an unfortunate time for the Indians’ offense when, at .188/.235/.438, Brandon Moss actually has the fourth-best batting average among everyday players. In four games for the Tribe, Moss has hit one home run and struck out an embarrassing total of 10 times in 16 at-bats. Let me repeat that: Moss has struck out 10 times in 16 at-bats. A prized offseason acquisition, Moss has been a worse than even Mark Reynolds ever was with the Indians. He has 15 total strike outs in 32 at-bats while hitting just .156 through 10 games this season.