The Indians need to solidify several spots in the lineup if the team is going to keep up with the White Sox and Twins.
The Cleveland Indians will go as far as the pitching staff takes the team in 2021. That was evident Tuesday night when it took nine scoreless innings from Shane Bieber to set up a 2-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
The Indians entered the season hoping to keep pace with the White Sox and Minnesota Twins in pursuit of an American League Central division crown. Having a dominant pitching staff is one reason why the Indians can’t be counted out from the race. However, the offense is going to have to step up as well.
There have been some good early signs from the lineup. The problem has been a few platoon players at several positions looking terrible in limited action. This process disrupts the lineup and Terry Francona needs to make two moves to add stability to the offense.
2 moves the Indians need to make to keep pace in the AL Central
The first position of focus is first base. Francona is currently opting for a platoon featuring Jake Bauers and Yu Chang. One move to make is to cut Bauers, who is out of minor league options, and either make Chang or Bobby Bradley the everyday first baseman.
Bauers beat out Bradley in spring training and Chang landed the utility job. But fans are seeing plenty of Chang in 2021 as it is clear Francona does not trust Bauers in a full-time role against right and left-handed pitching.
Bradley has a much higher ceiling and Chang can go back to being an actual utility guy.
The next position is center field. The team needs to move on from Ben Gamel and put either Jordan Luplow or Amed Rosario out there in a full-time role. Rosario is the favorite if he can have a quick adjustment to playing this new position.
Gamel was in the leadoff spot Tuesday night and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. In fact, he and Bauers combined for six strikeouts on the night.
The Indians don’t need to make major changes. Francona just needs to put his best players in the lineup on an everyday basis. The front office coming to this realization too would help give the manager the best available talent.