CLEVELAND -- After sending a pitch off the wall in center field, Francisco Lindor pumped a fist, clapped his hands and shouted in the direction of the Indians' dugout as he stood on second base. The shortstop was trying to ignite an eighth-inning rally for a Cleveland lineup that has
CLEVELAND -- After sending a pitch off the wall in center field, Francisco Lindor pumped a fist, clapped his hands and shouted in the direction of the Indians' dugout as he stood on second base. The shortstop was trying to ignite an eighth-inning rally for a Cleveland lineup that has gone ice cold.
On Wednesday night, Lindor was a one-man band, and the lack of help sent the Tribe to a 2-1 loss to the White Sox at Progressive Field. Lindor broke up Derek Holland's no-hit bid in the sixth and doubled in the eighth, but the wait continues for the rest of the Indians' order to wake up.
"It's just one day," Indians outfielder Michael Brantley said. "We'll kind of get it rolling and it will take off from there. We all need to get in a rhythm, just relax, kind of pass it on to one another. We'll be just fine."
This has gone on for more than one day, though.
Cleveland has only played eight games, so the small-sample-size qualifier still very much applies, especially after the club churned out 21 runs in its three-game sweep of Texas to open the season. That said, the Indians have produced only 10 runs in the five games since that early outburst, with a 5-for-43 (.116 average) with runners in scoring position in that span.
Lindor has been on a tear out of the gates, launching four home runs and posting a .333 average to go with a 1.250 OPS in the season's early going. The rest of the lineup has hit a combined .190 (44-for-232) through eight games.
The Tribe's lone run on Wednesday came in the eighth, when Carlos Santana scored from third on a Brantley groundout. Lindor moved from second to third on the play, but was stranded there when slugger Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Ramirez were retired by reliever Nate Jones.
The absence of support sent Danny Salazar to a loss, despite the fact that he tied a career high in strikeouts (11) and limited Chicago to two runs over six innings.
"Their bats are a little bit slow right now," Salazar said. "But they'll be all right. They are great. They are amazing at fielding, hitting. It's early in the season."
To date, Brantley has hit .208 and his average exit velocity of 86.6 mph (per Statcast™) ranked seventh among the eight Indians hitters with at least 10 balls in play, entering Wednesday. Santana (.235 average), Ramirez (.179) and Yan Gomes (.056) have also labored. Encarnacion, who signed a three-year contract worth $60 million over the winter, is batting .172 with one home run and one RBI.
Indians manager Terry Francona was not about to overreact to such a small sample.
"That's normally the way it is at the beginning of the season," Francona said. "Carlos really cooled off. Edwin hasn't gotten going yet. That's our leadoff and our cleanup hitter. Jose's not had a ton of hits. That'll change. Everybody wants it to change yesterday -- myself included -- but you've got to be patient. It'll change."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.