CLEVELAND: Even without Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera, out with injuries, the Indians' offense has picked up over the past three weeks.
Since May 25, the club is batting .251, scoring an average of 5.26 runs with 38 doubles and 20 home runs in 20 games. The Tribe's record over this span is 9-11, going into tonight's game against the Mets.
""I'm happy the Travis Hafner has started to swing the bat, and the way the bottom of the order is contributing a little more,'' manager Manny Acta said today.
Hafner's turnaround has been the most noticeable aspect of the attack's renewed vigor. In his past seven games, he is batting .364 with four home runs and eight RBI.
Unfortunately for Acta, Hafner will be sitting on the bench for the duration of a nine-game trip beginning Friday, as the Indians take on Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Cincinnati in their own ballparks, where designated hitters are banned.
""It will hard for us, but we're not the only American League club that's going over there,'' Acta said. ""We'll have to adjust and improvise. But I'll have a very good pinch hitter to use.''
Cleveland is creeping up in the AL statistics but still is among the bottom feeders in most offensive categories. For much of the season, the Tribe averaged fewer than four runs per game but currently is averaging 4.25 runs, ranking 11th in the league. However, the Indians are closing in on Chicago (4.33) and Detroit (4.41).
They remain 12th in home runs with 46, and only two other teams have struck out more. The Tribe is averaging 7.52 strikeouts per game, compared to 7.80 for Tampa Bay and 8.01 for Toronto.