By Matt Loede @MattLoede on May 19, 2014
The Indians enter Monday night's game against the Detroit Tigers 10.5 games out of first in the AL Central, and their season is quickly spinning out of control. They lost three straight to Oakland over the weekend, losing games by a total of 30-6. Here's five things that have to happen quickly to turn their season back around.
The Indians have had a serious lack of focus as of late, both at the plate and in the field, and as OF David Murphy said Monday, the team needs to do the little things. If they do those right, it will eventually turn back around. As he said, it's not a lack of talent, it's a lack of not taking care of those small things that eventually turn into big things.
The defense is the worst in baseball, plain and simple. There's been way too many errors, and it's costing the team games and giving the other team too many outs. Yan Gomes' nine errors lead the team, most of which looks like he's pressing. Terry Francona said Monday that the team will have a "team defensive day" on Tuesday, which seems to indicate the club wants to do whatever it can to get better in the field.
One of the core players in the starting nine needs to get hot for the team, and at this point, Francona could care less who it is. Nick Swisher (.196) or Carlos Santana (.152) are two players who would really help this lineup at this point if they could get their swing going. Santana hit balls hard on Sunday, but Swisher was 0-for-5 and left seven men on base. Someone on this team needs to get hot at the plate.
The team has already demoted John Axford from the closer role -- but Francona says he wants him back there soon. For now, it's closer by committee, and it sounds like a recipe for disaster. The team did try Bryan Shaw and he was able to get a save in a win in Toronto. He or Cody Allen seem to be the two best candidates for the job, that is until Axford is thrown back in the role.
The team is hitting an ugly .225 with runners in scoring position this season, and an even worse .157 with RISP with two outs. They haven't been able to get big hits in big games, and it's starting to show as the team all weekend against Oakland was able to get runners on, but then couldn't take advantage of it. They need to get these numbers up if they are going to compete with big boys like Detroit and others.
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