The Cleveland Indians secured a series victory and salvaged a 10-game road trip by defeating the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 Sunday, July 1 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Entering the four-game weekend series against the Orioles the Tribe suffered a season high five-game losing streak, holding a 1-5 record over the road trip's first six games.
Quite frankly even the most optimistic Clevelanders probably couldn't predict how well the Baltimore series turned out. Recognizing the Indians' season-long struggles versus left-handed pitching, Baltimore arranged their rotation so the Tribe would face three southpaw starters. The plan appeared solid considering entering the series Cleveland possessed a 5-16 record against left-handed starters.
Emphasize "appeared." In what can only get met with pure amazement the Cleveland Indians won all three games started by the Orioles' lefties. Contributions came from every spot in the Tribe's lineup. On Saturday, June 30 right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, utility infielder Jose Lopez, and backup catcher Lou Marson all garnered four or more hits.
On Sunday, July 1 Shelley Duncan silenced his critics by going three for four with two doubles, a home run, and two RBIs. Duncan also hit a home run Saturday, June 30. The slugger became a target for naysayers by underperforming during his limited playing time over the season's first three months.
Personally, I wonder if Shelley Duncan felt like his job security depended on his weekend performance. Cleveland Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner reportedly will come off the 15-Day DL Monday, July 2. Hafner's return will trigger a roster move and given Duncan's poor season I could see Indians management viewing him as expendable.
Regarding roster moves, I honestly want to see the Indians place starting catcher Carlos Santana on the 15-Day DL. Upper body soreness caused Santana to miss the Orioles series completely. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian notes the Indians wish to avoid placing Santana on the DL. I say, why?
Look at Lou Marson's production during the Orioles series. He went seven for 15, scoring five times, driving in two runs, and walking three times. A career .226 hitter, Marson holds a .286 batting average entering play Monday, July 2. Meanwhile Carlos Santana currently remains a liability at the plate, batting .151 since May 18.
By not rushing Santana back the Tribe possesses a greater chance to prolong their momentum from the Orioles series. Of course placing Santana on the DL doesn't open up a spot on the 25-man roster for Hafner because logic dictates substituting Santana with third string catcher Luke Carlin, in order to provide an emergency backup to Lou Marson.
Zachary Fenell fell in love with the Cleveland Indians during the 1995 season when the Tribe powered their way to the organization's first World Series appearance since 1954. While the Indians lost some allure since the 1990s you will still find Zachary watching the games on TV, listening to them on the radio, or best yet taking in a game from the stands at Progressive Field.
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- Sports & Recreation
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