Cleveland Indians Woes: Tribe Still Can't Hit After 55 Games

Scott MilesSenior Analyst IJune 1, 2008

Could there be anything more frustrating than watching the Indians try to hit with runners on base?

They remind me of small children flailing haplessly at piñatas. Whiff, whiff, whiff.

Twelve blows later, finally, a small crack opens up. But for the Tribe, no rush of candy emerges. All the treats remain stranded in scoring position.

In allowing the Kansas City Freaking Royals to snap their 12-game losing streak Saturday night, the Indians left a staggering 22 runners on base.

Royals starter Kyle Davies—he of the 6.16 career ERA, including an 0-3 lifetime mark against the Tribe—yielded only one run and continuously danced out of trouble.

Grady Sizemore left five runners on base. Victor Martinez left five runners on base. Shin Soo “Big League” Choo, in his season debut, looked to be in midseason form by going hitless and leaving four runners on. Even Travis Hafner, currently on the DL, managed to leave three runners on base.

The Tribe continues to rank last in the AL in hitting, at .234 (the next worst is Baltimore, all the way up at .246.) Only two teams have lower on-base and slugging percentages.

Miraculously, we’ve managed to score more runs this season than both Baltimore and Kansas City, so I can’t even imagine how putrid their offenses must be.

Give credit to Eric Wedge for trying, though. The Indians have the second most sacrifice hits in the league, and we’re in the middle of the pack in stolen bases. That's not bad, considering I could beat everyone except for Sizemore and Franklin Gutierrez in a footrace.

Martinez’s batting average has dropped over 60 points since the start of the month. He’s only had three multi-hit games in May (he had eight in April). Worse, he’s gone hitless in seven games this month, as opposed to just three in April.

Did I mention he’s leading the team in hitting?

Sizemore is second on the team—with a .254 average. He followed up a two-homer performance Friday with a giant 0-fer Saturday.

No one else on the team, besides Ben Francisco (.307 in 25 games), Martinez and Sizemore is hitting over .250. Yes, the Indians have only three regular players who average more than one hit every four at bats.

The big offseason acquisition to bolster the lineup, Jamey Carroll, is hitting .232. He plays the game the right way, is always hustling and giving his best effort, but he can’t be the answer to the offensive problems that started after last year’s All-Star break.

The Indians can’t hit at home (.238), can’t hit on the road (.229), can’t hit during the day (.232), can’t hit at night (.235), can’t hit on turf (.202), can’t hit on grass (.236). They can’t hit righties (.231), they can’t hit lefties (.243).

Sensing a trend here?

Perhaps instead of taking BP before today’s series finale in Kansas City, they can take turns swinging at a piñata. Then again, they’d probably only pop it up to short or hit a weak ground ball with it.