CHICAGO: The Indians are hardly an offensive juggernaut, but they have scored enough runs to usually take advantage of opposing teams when they receive effective pitching.
And there is a method to the Tribe’s madness when it comes to formulating a plan of attack, with the design of the offense dictated by the type of players they happen to have on hand rather than a blueprint forced by the manager.
Manager Manny Acta realizes that he is not making out the lineup for the 1995 Indians, so he can’t sit around and wait for someone to hit a three-run homer. Acta preaches patience at the plate, waiting for a good pitch and taking a walk rather than swinging at a pitch out of the strike zone.
“There isn’t just one way to score runs,” Acta said Sunday. “I could care less how we do it as long as we do it. But we don’t have that many power hitters.”
But the manager wouldn’t mind if he did have a few more guys who regularly hit the ball out of the park.
“A home run beats three singles any day,” he said. “And that’s just one at-bat.”
That is not how the Tribe generates offense. The Indians’ home-run ranking among all major-league teams (going into Sunday’s games) was 18th with 39. By comparison, the Orioles lead with 72.
Whereas the Wahoos do not rank high in home runs, they are first in the majors with 195 walks (16 ahead of the second-place Rays), and they are tied for seventh in doubles with 85. The Red Sox lead with 119.
Carlos Santana is tied for sixth in walks with 30, Travis Hafner is tied for 12th with 26 and Shin-Soo Choo is tied for 23rd with 23.
Michael Brantley is tied for eighth in the big leagues with 15 doubles, Asdrubal Cabrera is tied for 10th with 14 and Choo is tied for 19th with 13.
A double is a great weapon. It gives the team an RBI if a runner is in scoring position (or sometimes with a runner on first), and it puts another runner in scoring position.
“For me,” Acta said, “on-base percentage is the key.”
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.