The title of this post has two meanings, relating to his batting average and his spot in the batting order.â†µ
Let’s start off with his batting average. He is hitting just .189 but has batted cleanup in every game he has played. Dating back to last season, Santana is struggling at the plate. You could see how much of a detriment he was to the lineup in the win over the Royals last night. He grounded into two double plays and he struck out with runners at 2nd and 3rd. Guys are getting on base in front of Santana but he has not been able to deliver the punch to give Tribe pitchers more breathing room to work with.
He leads the team in walks with 14. I condone patience, but he is not taking the bat off his shoulders enough, taking way too many first pitch strikes over the inside corner.â†µ
What is the solution for Santana? You get the feeling he will break out of it at some point, but moving Santana down in the lineup could be the difference maker in a couple of these closely contested games the Indians are playing. It could also allow Santana to regain some confidence with less pressure on his shoulders. Personally, I think a three-way swap between Grady Sizemore (shifting to cleanup), Michael Brantley (leading off), and Santana (batting seventh) would be enticing. The bottom half of the lineup would feature two guys who like to work the count (Santana and Matt LaPorta).â†µ
Manny Acta is likely going to stick to his word and keep the lineup the same as long as the team keeps winning. I just hope I don’t pull all of my hair out before Santana finally gets going.