Tribe GM Antonetti keeps faith in offense

Tribe GM Antonetti keeps faith in offense

NEW YORK -- Indians general manager Chris Antonetti sees the same thing as everybody else right now. Antonetti has watched his club's offense go flat, and the team's grip in the American League Central loosen dramatically as a result.

Over the past three weeks, Cleveland's lineup has labored as a whole and the Tribe's seven-game lead over second-place Detroit has vanished in the process. Entering Sunday's game against the Yankees, the Indians and Tigers were tied atop the division standings.

"Offensively, we need to get more consistent," Antonetti said. "We need to get back to some of the things that made us successful early in the year. I still believe in the talent in the guys that are on the roster, and that in time they'll be able to play up to their ability."

Antonetti's faith stems from the fact that for most of April and in early May, Cleveland ranked at or near the top of the league in multiple offensive categories. The slide since then, however, has been significant. Once the AL leader in runs and run differential, the Tribe now ranks eighth and fifth, respectively, in those categories.

Dating back to May 23, when the Indians were 30-15, the club went 4-13 with an average of three runs per game, entering Sunday's game. Throughout that period, Cleveland hit .227 with a .635 OPS, scoring two runs or fewer in 11 of the 17 games with two shutouts.

Over the the Tribe's first 45 games, the team hit .265 with a .759 OPS. The Tribe also put up 5.1 runs per game on average and was only shut out twice. Cleveland scored two runs or fewer only 10 times over that span.

"It's the consistency of our at-bats from the top to the bottom of the lineup," Antonetti said. "We had everyone contributing, for the most part, in the first part of the year. It's tough when you have to rely on just a couple of guys to carry the burden offensively."