Indians temporary manager Sandy Alomar Jr. knew that keeping a hitless Jordan Luplow in the lineup would help Luplow’s confidence at the plate. The way the outfielder’s past few at-bats had gone gave Alomar a feeling that the hitless streak would soon come to an end. As it turns out,
Indians temporary manager Sandy Alomar Jr. knew that keeping a hitless Jordan Luplow in the lineup would help Luplow’s confidence at the plate. The way the outfielder’s past few at-bats had gone gave Alomar a feeling that the hitless streak would soon come to an end. As it turns out, he was right.
With six outfielders on their 28-man roster, the Tribe has tried to figure out the best way to rotate through its options as consistently as possible. And despite Luplow’s 0-for-20 skid through his first eight games, Alomar penciled him into the lineup for the second consecutive game. Luplow logged his first hit of the season in his second at-bat, a two-run blast that helped lift the Indians to a 7-1 victory over the White Sox on Saturday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“I want him to be the guy that we had last year,” Alomar said prior to the game. “Sitting on the bench is not going to do that. I need to put him out there.”
Last year, Luplow hit .276 with a .923 OPS, and he’s a hitter the Indians most certainly need in their lineup. The team was optimistic after an offensive outburst during a 13-0 win over the Reds on Thursday but was shut out for the third time of the season on Friday. Now, the Cleveland offense, which boasted a Major League-worst .189 average entering Saturday, is hoping it’s finally finding its footing.
The Tribe has run out eight outfielders so far this year, and the group had collectively hit .152 entering Saturday’s contest. While they wait for Tyler Naquin (right big toe fracture) to join the team, the Indians are desperately searching for an impact bat to emerge from among their outfielders. Luplow served that role in the second half of last season, especially against left-handed pitching. But before he went home for the winter, Luplow said he wanted to prove that he can be more than just a platoon guy moving forward.
Saturday’s long ball came off of right-hander Drew Anderson. Just one of Luplow’s 15 homers in 2019 came off of a right-hander. He slashed .216/.274/.299 in 97 at-bats against righties, while slashing .320/.439/.742 in 128 at-bats against lefties. If Saturday is a sign that Luplow’s skid is in the rearview mirror, it may also be a sign that he can play more of a consistent role in the Tribe’s lineup regardless of who’s on the mound.