Will An Awful April Turn Into A Much Better May For The Cleveland Indians?

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It’s been a month to forget for the Cleveland Indians, finishing an opening month of the season six games under .500 at 11-17 and sitting in fifth in the American League Central. They have issues at the plate, their starting rotation is struggling and they have a defense that ranks last in the Majors with 26 errors in 28 games thus far. They are coming off a road trip that saw them go winless in six games against the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Angels.

So what can the team do to fix it? That’s a great question and one that will be left up to manager Terry Francona and general manager Chris Antonetti. The team has shuffled their lineup around and even made a move to the rotation with putting fifth starter Carlos Carrasco to the bullpen after an 0-3 start with an ERA of 6.43. A lot of it sits on the veterans who have gotten off to ice cold starts, such as players like Carlos Santana with a .151 average. That’s not good for a player who has spent most of the month in the cleanup spot.

Santana actually showed signs of hitting in the last few games of the road trip, homering and walking to drive in another run in the loss on Tuesday. With a huge homestand against two AL Central teams ahead of them in the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins, there’s no better time for Santana to start hitting. While the team needs him to get going, it would also be nice to see Nick Swisher (.211) and Asdrubal Cabrera (.220) start hitting. They’re two more vets who haven’t done enough in the month of April to start winning on a consistent level.

The lapses on defense cannot be explained, as it’s been anything from Yan Gomes throwing the ball over the head of a defender trying to tag out a base stealer to an outfielder missing a cutoff man. It’s time for the team to get back to basics when it comes to being more sound in the field. The starting pitching has been a mess, with Justin Masterson getting off to a slow start and Danny Salazar being very up and down. The team last season was able to count on their pitching when things got tough, but this season it has been a different tune.

The team has time to turn it around, and they have a World Series manager in Francona who can do it. But it’s up to the players to get better and make a difference. The team has enough talent to do it and five months to get it right. Now the question is will they get the job done?

Matt Loede has covered the Cleveland Indians for 20 years for National Networks like AP Radio, Metro Networks and other local and national stations. Follow him on twitter @mattloede.

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