Acta shuffles lineup for series finale in NY

Acta shuffles lineup for series finale in NY

Acta shuffles lineup for series finale in NY
NEW YORK -- Indians manager Manny Acta did not pull names out of a hat, but that might be his next move if Monday's dramatic lineup shuffle, drawn up for the finale of a four-game series against the Yankees, does not net swift results.

"We've got to keep adapting and improvising and adjusting," Acta said. "We felt that something had to be done."

Outfielder Michael Brantley, who has spent the bulk of this season as Cleveland's leadoff man, was moved into the lineup's third spot. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera -- the team's best hitter up to this point this year -- assumed the cleanup duties.

Hitting directly in front of Brantley was catcher Carlos Santana, who has off-set his overall struggles with a solid on-base percentage. Center fielder Grady Sizemore -- most recently used in the heart of the order -- was back in his familiar leadoff role.

"I talked to those guys," Acta said. "I'm not expecting any one of them to change their approach at the plate. Just be the hitter you are, because you only hit third or fourth one time -- that's it. Once that lineup starts rolling over, everybody is just a hitter hitting behind and in front of somebody else.

"We're going to give it a few days to see how it works."

The changes come in light of the Tribe's recent offensive woes. Entering Monday's game, the Indians were 4-14 in their past 18 games, with 12 games in which they managed two or fewer runs. Across that same span, Cleveland has averaged only 2.9 runs per game after scoring 5.1 on average in the 45 previous contests.

Brantley entered Monday's game hitting .286 with five home runs, 11 doubles and 27 RBIs in 61 games for the Tribe. He was also hitting .308 with runners in scoring position, and .300 with RISP and two outs. Making his first career start in the third spot, Brantley sounded ready for the challenge.

"I just look forward to trying to drive in some more runs now," Brantley said. "I want my guys to get on base in front of me, and I want to get on base for the guys behind me. That's the whole game plan, and that's what we need to do to start scoring some runs."

Cabrera came into Monday's tilt with a .301 average, 12 home runs, 16 doubles and 42 RBIs in 63 games. The shortstop -- the Tribe's top candidate for earning a spot on the American League All-Star team -- also boasted a .426 average with runners in scoring position.

"We felt that these two guys have been our most consistent hitters over the last two months and have been good in the clutch," said Acta, regarding Brantley and Cabrera. "It's having our best hitters, basically, hitting in the middle of the lineup.""