CLEVELAND: Will the real Matt LaPorta stand up?
The Indians aren't sure which LaPorta will turn out to be the genuine article: the one who is batting .095 in his past 12 games or the one who homered in three consecutive games at the end of June and beginning of July.
""He's just in a slump,'' manager Manny Acta said this afternoon. ""He's had his ups and downs like all young players.''
But can LaPorta be the middle of the order run producer the Trieb thought it was getting when he was acquired from the Brewers for C.C. Sabathia two years ago?
""He's shown flashes of it,'' Acta said. ""When you see flashes, you start looking for consistency.''
One of LaPorta's problems, typical of players trying to establish themselves in the majors: After he's been around the league once or twice, opposing pitchers develop a book on his strengths and weaknesses then tailor their approach to him accordingly. That already has happened to LaPorta, who must learn to counter what pitchers are trying to do to him.
""Some pitchers come inside on him,'' Acta said. ""Some throw a lot of breaking balls. It's up to him to make the adjustment.