Top of Indians' batting order heating up
SAN FRANCISCO -- For much of this month, it has been the bottom of the Indians' lineup that has carried the offensive load. Over the past week, the batting order's opening trio of Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis have started firing on all cylinders as well.
"We know we have a good-hitting team, man," Bourn said prior to Sunday's game against the Giants. "We know we can hit the baseball up and down the lineup -- one through nine."
During Saturday's 5-3 loss to San Francisco, Bourn, Swisher and Kipnis -- who occupy lineup spots one, two and three, respectively -- went a combined 5-for-15 with three extra-base hits, three RBIs and three runs scored.
Bourn, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list April 15 after a left hamstring injury, headed into Sunday's game with a .370 (10-for-27) average, three extra-base hits, three runs and three RBIs in his past six games.
Entering Sunday, Swisher was batting .360 (9-for-25) with five doubles, two RBIs, two walks and three runs over his last six games played for the Tribe. Over his last nine games, the first baseman was batting at a .333 clip.
Over his last nine games entering Sunday, Kipnis had hit .314 (11-for-35) with a homer, three doubles, five RBIs, three walks and four runs scored.
"Bourny is certainly feeling better about himself," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I think Swish is still not maybe in midseason form, but when he's getting a pitch now, he's hitting it. I think you'll see, as he gets more into the year, you'll see him make more adjustments. I think that's kind of typical.
"Kip is fine. His batting average will move up, but he's fine. Every time he's up, he's got a chance. He's a legitimate [hitter]. Kip has kind of gotten to that point with me where, sometimes when he makes an out, I'm surprised. That's not fair, but that's probably how much I think of him as a hitter."