Cleveland Indians: Missing Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce?

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 7: Edwin Encarnacion
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 7: Edwin Encarnacion /

The Cleveland Indians offense looks like it might miss Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce because the lineup couldn’t hit water jumping into Lake Erie.

It’s early for the Cleveland Indians, which is about the only positive thing you could say about the Tribe’s offense through the first eight games.

When the 2018 season is all said and done, eight games will be but a blip on the long winding journey to 162.

But these games, six of which have been played in excellent climate, do count. So, you know, feel free to get that sound effect from Super Mario Bros. some air time around the ballpark.

Outside of a three-run bottom of the first inning during Cleveland’s home opener against the Royals, Cleveland hasn’t scored a run in 16 innings.

The six-game road trip to start the season was especially hard to watch, because the Tribe didn’t even have the cold climate of the AL Central to blame.

The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo wrote of the Tribe’s woeful performance against the Mariners and Angels to start the season.

"“In their first six games they batted .161, though they hit eight home runs. There was nobody worse. Too early to say whether the Indians didn’t adequately replace Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce, but so far it’s looking that way."

Carlos Santana is batting .136 in 28 plate appearances with his new team, the Phillies. Santana wasn’t a high average hitter in Cleveland, but the thing he did very well–get on base–hasn’t even been all that specular either entering April 8 (.250 OBP).

Jay Bruce is doing slightly better, batting .250 in 26 plate appearances.

The point is neither player is off to a scoring hot start, which confirms Cafardo’s point– yes, it is indeed, too early.

With that said, here’s some major disappointments coming out to the Tribe’s lineup:

1. Jose Ramirez isn’t a player who strikes out a lot, and he’s staying true his credentials. But with a .067 average, it’s hart not to notice JRAM creating an abyss in the lineup.

Early? Sure. But with some grumpy fans (this one) worried he’s trying to hit more home runs, it doesn’t exactly help his case to see a flyball percentage at 60 percent, while his line-drive rate sits at 8 percent.

For comparison’s sake, Ramirez collected 91 extra-base hits a season ago with a Flyball rate of 39.7 percent an a line-drive rate of 21.4 percent.

2. Without Yonder Alonso‘s grand slam against the Mariners in Game No. 2 of the season, this team would be off to a 2-6 start.

Just wish Alonso would be more consistent, as he’s knocked just one hit in his last 16 at-bats. Co

3. The bottom of the order could be real hard to watch. Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez are studs defensively, but it’s no secret that anything their bats provide is a pierogi on top of a Slider Dog.

4. Terry Francona has predominantly used Bradley Zimmer in the No. 9 spot. Playing mostly against righties, Zimmer has struck out 12 times in 24 plate appearances, to go along with zero walks.

5. Jason Kipnis‘ spring re-birth has been eaten up by the never ending Cleveland winter. After starting the season 3-of-7, he’s 1 for his last 19.

The great thing about early season numbers is how quickly stats can start trending upward. All it takes is three good days and a guy can be batting north of .300.

Slow starts in Cleveland aren’t really a surprise at The Corner. In fact, they were the calling card of former manager Eric Wedge.

No matter what Wedge tried to get his guys real at the end of Spring Training, they’d always come out flat once the game’s started.

Hopefully someone gets it going soon.

Next: Why Tomlin is better out of the bullpen

Watching baseball in the freezing cold is hard enough. Watching zero runs cross the plate in 16 innings? Well, you should be up for the Fan of the Year.