While Cleveland Indians fans had been complaining about it for awhile, manager Terry Francona was being a little more stubborn about it. He simply didn’t want to take veteran players Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana and move them lower in the starting nine, but now Swisher will hit in the No. 6 hole while Santana will hit 7th.
After Saturday’s 6-2 loss to the Oakland A’s in which Santana and Swisher went a combined 2-for-8, the manager pulled the trigger on moving them down in the lineup for Sunday’s afternoon affair. In the last two games, both losses, Swisher is 2-for-8 with a homer, RBI, no walks and three Ks. Santana is 1-for-8 in the last two games with one walk and four strikeouts.
It was a move that should have been made a while ago, but one that Francona hopes will jump-start an offense that enters Sunday with a .244 batting average. “We try real hard to never treat our lineup like a fantasy team,” Francona said. “You want to have a lot of respect for where guys hit and why they hit where they are hitting. I think I got to a point where I was maybe being patient, I was being stubborn. And that’s not good either.”
Fans have been growing more and more impatient with Swisher, who may be the vocal cheerleader on the field and off but has been nothing short of a bust since signing a four-year deal worth $56 million before the start of last season. Fans took to him right away for his pride in playing for Cleveland, but slowly they have been blasting him more and more for his lack of big hits and now this season his ugly .201 average at the plate.
Santana started off red-hot a season ago, but this year he has had a tough time making the transition from catcher to third base, not as much in the field but at the plate. He’s hitting just .154 with five homers and 13 RBIs. Last season after 44 games, Santana was hitting .290 and making a lot more contact which has also been an issue this year.
It was a move that had to be made for a struggling offense and a team that woke up Sunday sitting 9.5 games out of first in the division. Swisher and Santana may find their way back up the lineup card later in the season, but for now, Francona is making the right move pushing them down — way down towards the bottom of the Indians’ lineup.