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Game Sixty-Eight: Indians 5, Braves 2

Box Score
Win Probability Added @ Fangraphs

Highest WPA:

Fausto Carmona .296
Jason Michaels .112
Jhonny Peralta .079

Lowest WPA:

Grady Sizemore -.099
Josh Barfield -.084
Casey Blake -.059

The offense might be struggling, but on this day, the pitching and defense didn't need much help. Fausto Carmona was brilliant again, stifling Atlanta's bats for seven innings. Rafael Betancourt, arguably baseball's best setup man, diffused a major Brave rally in the eighth. Joe Borowski saved his 20th game in 22 opportunities. And Jason Michaels and Grady Sizemore took turns making game-saving diving catches.

Selected Indian batting lines in June:

Travis Hafner .212/.317/.250
Ryan Garko .132/.214/.211
Trot Nixon .114/.225/.143

Hafner's line is probably the most disturbing, since the offense has revolved around his bat the past 2-3 seasons. He's still walking, but his swing is totally out of whack:

Hafner was on the bench today in the hopes that a day off would help him regroup. Subbing for him as the Indians' DH was Nixon, whose range in right field has deteriorated to the point where he may no longer be a viable option in the field. And if he can't play defense, his future in the majors will be very short, as his power has tumbled steadily:


What am I advocating? Hafner's going to figure things out sooner or later, but this is probably the time to start phasing Nixon out of the lineup in favor of either Franklin Gutierrez or Jason Michaels. And don't forget the possibility of Casey Blake moving back to right (or even first base) if Andy Marte hits his way back to the majors.

Speaking of Casey, he now is tied with Harry Bay (1902) for the seventh longest hitting streak in franchise history. Those ahead of him:

Nap Lajoie (1906) - 31
Sandy Alomar (1997) - 30
Bill Bradley (1902) - 29
Joe Jackson (1911) - 28
Hal Trosky (1936) - 28
Dale Mitchell (1953) - 27

Next Up: The hot Phillies finish up the Indians' home Interleague schedule. Hamels vs. Lee, 7:05 PM