Cleveland Indians’ ideal lineup to close out the 2020 season

Franmil Reyes #32 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
Franmil Reyes #32 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians, Jose Ramirez
ST LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 29: Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 29, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians are beginning to experiment with lineup changes down the stretch, so what would be the team’s ideal lineup?

With the home stretch of the 2020 season coming up, the Cleveland Indians are starting to try new looks in the lineup to find the spark they desperately need.

The Indians’ offense has struggled all season long and various attempts to create runs have all fallen short. The team attempted to add new pieces heading into the season, called up prospects and made a deadline trade, but all the avenues became dead ends as the team has struggled at the plate.

As a team entering Saturday’s slate of games, the Indians held the fourth lowest batting average, the third lowest slugging percentage and the fifth fewest runs scored in all of baseball. Of all the major batting categories, the Tribe are in the bottom third of the league for all them, except walks which they have the third most in Major League Baseball.

In a tight divisional race in the last leg of the season, the Cleveland Indians need to find their ideal lineup. We’re well past the point of adding pieces, so now the focus is finding the best combination of the players at hand.

Using the typical starting lineup that the Indians have been rolling out, I went through and tried to pinpoint the best lineup to produce more notches in the win column as Cleveland tries to capture the AL Central title.

From what I’ve learned coming from a baseball family as both a player and fan, there are a few key components to creating a strong lineup. The lead-off hitter needs to get on base one way or another and the two-hole needs to get the lead-off guy over. The third spot is usually the team’s best hitter while cleanup belongs to the most dangerous. The fifth batter in the lineup needs to be the best remaining to protect the cleanup hitter.

From there, really the six and nine holes are the most important. The six spot needs to act as a second lead-off hitter to get it all going again and the ninth batter needs to be fast enough to not slow down the rest of the order when it flips over. The seventh and eighth are really just used to fill out the order and work against pitching matchups.

Using that framework, here’s what I came up with for the Tribe.