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The Indians should make one simple move to jumpstart the offense after a disappointing 0-2 start to the season.
The Cleveland Indians were expected to be carried by the pitching staff in 2021. Well, that doesn’t mean much if the offense is nonexistent.
The team drove in two runs Saturday after having the same total in Thursday’s season-opening loss. So what looked like an initial Opening Day issue returned in the second game of the year. Now Terry Francona needs to make some changes to avoid being swept by the Detroit Tigers.
He does not need to make a drastic move. Simply getting Cesar Hernandez into the leadoff spot and making a few other small changes could go a long way toward actually seeing some offense Sunday.
Indians need to tweak the lineup to avoid a disastrous April
The is just no rhythm so far on offense. Getting nothing from the leadoff spot doesn’t help. Jordan Luplow got the start in center field Thursday and also batted leadoff. Since the position remains in an open competition, Ben Gamel started in center Saturday and also sat atop the lineup.
The problem is that both Luplow and Gamel belong near the bottom of the lineup. Not at the top. Hernandez is the clear choice to bat first, even if for now he prefers to hit in the second spot. This is a bigger issue than one’s preference as the Indians can’t afford to put below-average players atop the lineup.
Francona can simply slide everyone up one spot. Hernandez can be first, with Jose Ramirez second and Eddie Rosario third. Franmil Reyes can bat fourth and so on down the list. Even Roberto Perez could slide up to fifth after a nice showing so far.
The offense just can’t afford to put a platooning position in the leadoff spot. Luplow and Gamel are not even the best options in center field, let alone batting leadoff. Amed Rosario, if his defense improves, could end up being a suitable option in center and at the top of the lineup.
But for now, Hernandez would be a good option. He has hits in each game so far and batted .283 with the Indians last season. He is an everyday player, unlike those in center field, and can bring some much-needed stability to the lineup. He may even come around to score often given all the talent already behind him in the order.