Through 81 games in 2011, the Indians were hitting .250 as a team with 74 home runs and 351 runs. Their offensive production has improved slightly this season, as they entered Thursday's opener against the Rays hitting .257 with 72 homers and 366 runs. The Indians had scored 53 of those runs in their last seven games.
Indians manager Manny Acta likes the way his offense has progressed throughout the season, and he expects it to get better in the second half.
"The offensive situation, it's on its way," Acta said. "I think just having [Travis] Hafner back, and we all know [Carlos] Santana, he's going to get better. That doesn't mean that we've got it made with that. We could probably use a little help."
The Indians' pitching staff, though, has taken a step back, posting a collective 4.51 ERA this season, compared to a 3.77 ERA through the midpoint last year. The most glaring statistic is that Cleveland pitchers have surrendered 50 more walks than this time last season (275 to 225).
Acta feels better about the pitching staff than he did earlier in the year, because front-end starters Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez have started to find their groove. Both Masterson and Jimenez struggled out of the gate, but they have settled in over the last month.
While the Indians sat 2 1/2 games behind the White Sox for first place in the American League Central entering Thursday, Acta was happy with his team's performance over the first 81 games.
"I'm pleased, not satisfied," he said. "That's all you want to do at the halfway point of the season, be in it the way we are right now. That's all you can ask for, get to the halfway point and not be buried."