No, you are not in the American League and things are a bit different in a National League park. In two losses to the last place Reds, the Indians scored 5 runs on 15 hits batting just .214. They left 27 runners on base while striking out 19 times and walking only 5 times.
Not having the D.H. has not hurt the team nearly as much as not having a plan to make all nine spots in the batting order effective.
Pinch hitting Travis Hafner early in game one Friday night, though ill-advised had a positive effect as he connected for a solo home run. But in the top of the ninth inning, with right hander Cordero in relief, all three batters struck out, the first two (Blake and Carroll) on called third strikes and the final out (Sizemore) was on a checked swing that went too far.
Yesterday, Masa showed he was human and joined the failed save club of the Cleveland bullpen.
Still, if it wasn't for the starting pitching and the improved defense, this team would be sharing the bottom of the Central Division with the Tigers instead of hanging on to a piece of first place before the first pitch today.
It would be great to see a game plan that utilized the ninth spot in the batting rotation. Tony LaRussa seems to have it down, batting his pitcher 8th instead of 9th and using his bench each game. Tony feels that the 9th spot is more critical in game situations because it is followed by his swift contact hitter Skip Shumaker. Of course he developed that plan because he deals with pitchers batting on a daily basis. Still, the box scores are out there for everyone to see.
How can we cut down on called third strikes? Perhaps if we were swinging to protect the plate, the team batting average may just improve over 14th out of 14 teams and 12th in strike outs...hmmm.
Eric Wedge has a deep love for the game of baseball and he speaks to the respect of the game constantly. He handles his players with that same respect and demands that respect from them. He believes that preparation is more important than overall results. This has been a tough weekend for the team and just as tough to watch as the team appears to be struggling in uncharted waters, namely a National League ballpark.
Here is hoping that the preparation has a game plan that can win with a National League style. Don't be afraid to click your heels and alter the game plan for a more successful result today.