Yesterday’s 8-1 loss (and three game sweep) by the Detroit Tigers felt like rock bottom for this season. Of course, with the way this season has been going, this could be a high point. Regardless, I’ve decided to offer my unsolicited advice on things the Indians can do TODAY to help fix this club, at least for the short term. In no order (other than the order I’ve decided to write them), here are three changes the Indians should make right now.
Pick a Starter at Third – No one really likes uncertainty, especially baseball players. While all three members of the “Hot Corner From Hell” (Luis Valbuena, Jayson Nix and Andy Marte) have sucked in their own special way, the team is doing no one a favor by doing the whole “flavor of the day” thing at third. Pick a guy, and then stick with him. What( has this team got to lose? I think we all know who I’d love to see the job go to (and it DOES make sense, seeing as El Gato is the only natural third baseman on the team any more), but I’d just like to see someone consistently at third base, even if they are consistently sucking. If Jared Goedert is the man, then pick a starter for a week until they call up Goedert in September. Just be consistent.
Give Masterson a Trial in the Pen - Speaking of consistent, Justin Masterson is not. He’s also hit career-highs in innings pitched this season (145.1 as of today), and has been less than spectacular as a starter. Manny Acta has talked about going to a six-man rotation, but he should do everyone a favor and give Masterson a one-month trial in the pen. I’ve been clamoring for this all season, as he just hasn’t shown the consistency to be a big-league starter. Rather than give Masterson 2 or 3 more starts, why not just toss him in the pen and see if he is any more effective? I know he has more value as a starter, but eventually, you kind of have to be who you are. Justin Masterson has not shown he can be a starter. Let’s see if he’s any better as a reliever.
Stop Batting Michael Brantley in the Leadoff Spot – I know he’s currently injured, but Anthony Castrovince says Brantley should be back tomorrow. And I know in that very piece I just linked it shows how well Brantley has been hitting this most recent call-up. But just because he projects as a leadoff hitter doesn’t mean he’s ready to be one now. It’s putting unnecessary pressure on the kid while the Indians have other options (Asdrubal Cabrera comes to mind, even though his bat has been poor lately). This team isn’t out to win ballgames. Let’s not ruin a kid by forcing him into a role he isn’t ready for.