CLEVELAND: It's been a struggle for Jhonny Peralta this year.
But when you look at his numbers, there is little indication that this has been anything but a normal season for the Indians' new third baseman.
Going into Friday night's game against the Orioles, Peralta was batting .262 with 11 home runs and 78 RBI. Granted, his home runs are down compared to the past two years, but in 2006, his second season as a regular, Peralta hit only 13 homers, batted .257 and drove in 68 runs.
In 2008, Peralta batted .276 with 23 home runs and 89 RBI, totals he will not reach by the time the schedule ends on Oct. 4.
But what his current statistics don't show is his inconsistency. Peralta has always been a guy whose seasons are marked by periods of raging success and total frustration at the plate. But in previous years, the highs usually lasted longer than the lows.
"He's been streaky,'' manager Eric Wedge said Friday. "But a lot of hitters in the majors are streaky. And he's been one of our best hitters in the second half.''
And one of the worst.
From July 24-Aug. 24, Peralta batted .350 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 25 games. But since Sept. 16, he has one hit in 28 at-bats and snapped an 0-for-26 skid with a broken bat single Thursday night against the Tigers.
"The last couple of weeks he's been struggling,'' Wedge said. ""Hopefully, he'll find it and finish strong.''
Peralta's streakiness has manifested itself all season. He batted .211 in May with no home runs, soared to .316 in May but with only one homer, then slipped to .250 in June with three home runs. In July and August, Peralta turned things around, batting .296 and .291, respectively.
"I felt like he's held onto an approach that has worked for a long time,'' Wedge said. ""But you don't always get the results.''
Viewed in other contexts, it appears that Peralta has been frghteningly consistent. He is batting .245 against lefties and .268 against right-handers; .257 at home and .266 on the road; .257 before the All-Star Game and .267 since the break.
How has his transition from short to third gone in terms of his offense? Peralta has batted .242 in 153 at-bats as a shortstop and .269 in 361 at-bats as a third baseman.
"They've pitched Jhonny pretty tough,'' Wedge said. ""And at times he tries to do too much.''
LAPORTA RETURNS -- After missing two games with inflammation of his left hip, Matt LaPorta was back in the lineup as the DH Friday night against the Orioles.
Matt ran around a little today,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ""I think he'll be able to play in the field sooner or later.''
LaPorta has yet to take ground balls to test the hip, and Andy Marte replaced him at first base.
GOING NOWHERE -- The presence of Michael Brantley and Trevor Crowe on the roster will not affect where Grady Sizemore plays next year.
Sizemore, recuperating from two operations, will remain the Indians' center fielder. Both Brantley and Crowe are viewed as pirmarily left fielders.
Moreover, don't count on Brantley moving Sizemore out of the leadoff spot.
"We haven't even talked about that,'' Wedge said.
TV CHANGE -- Channel 3 will air tonight's game against the Orioles instead of Sunday's game, which can be seen on SportsTime Ohio.
ROSTER MOVES -- Left-handers Zach Jackson, Rich Rundles and R.J. Swindle have been taken off the 40-man roster and outrighted to Columbus. That leaves 36 players on the roster. Jake Westbrook and Anthony Reyes don't count, because they are on the 60-day disabled list.