CLEVELAND — José Ramírez has kept the Indians’ offense afloat all season long, and as the postseason draws closer, his bat has only gotten hotter. But what would it mean for the Tribe if Carlos Santana’s quick burst of power on Monday night was a sign of what’s to come
CLEVELAND — José Ramírez has kept the Indians’ offense afloat all season long, and as the postseason draws closer, his bat has only gotten hotter. But what would it mean for the Tribe if Carlos Santana’s quick burst of power on Monday night was a sign of what’s to come with the playoffs just around the corner?
The Indians had a four-run lead over the White Sox after four innings, but when that was erased in the top of the fifth, Santana responded in the bottom half of the frame with a two-run blast that helped lift the Indians to a 7-4 victory at Progressive Field. If the Mariners lose to the Astros on Monday night, the Tribe will officially punch its ticket to the 2020 postseason.
Ramírez has hit .290 with 41 RBIs and 16 homers this year. He began the season in the two-hole with a struggling Francisco Lindor hitting behind him. He had a quieter August, but after he moved to the three-spot in September, Ramírez’s bat began to heat up again. This time, with Santana, who entered Monday hitting a mere .191 with a .295 slugging percentage, following him in the order.
If Santana can build momentum from Monday’s blast — his sixth of the season — not only will he become more of a threat in the Tribe’s cleanup spot, but the fear of having to face him may cause Ramírez, who’s seeing the ball quite well after another homer during a 2-for-3 showing against the White Sox, to get a few better pitches to hit.
Temporary Indians manager Sandy Alomar Jr. has noted that Santana’s timing has been off in the box, as he’s gotten set just a bit late during his plate appearances. But turning on a 2-1 sinker from Jace Fry and depositing it 401 feet in the left-field bleachers was certainly an encouraging sign.
With a tight race at the top of the American League postseason leaderboard, the Indians, assuming they retain the No. 7 seed, would face either the Rays, A’s or White Sox — whoever ends up as the No. 2 seed. Santana may be hoping to see the White Sox again in the Wild Card Series. Though he struggled mightily at the plate this season, his success against Chicago continued: He’s hit .421 (8-for-19) with two homers, four RBIs and 11 walks in seven games against the White Sox in 2020.