Tribe depending on Santana to keep improving

Tribe depending on Santana to keep improving

CLEVELAND -- It's no secret that the Indians have been in a slump at the plate recently. Entering Wednesday, Cleveland had scored more than three runs in only two of their 12 games since the All-Star Break.

If the offensive production is going to get better, the Tribe will need players like catcher Carlos Santana to get hot at the plate. Santana has struggled through the first four months of the season after hitting 27 homers a year ago, but he's showing signs of improvement.

Entering Wednesday night's game, Santana had reached base via a hit or a walk in 18 consecutive games. The switch-hitter is batting .309 (17-for-55) with six doubles, two home runs, eight RBIs and 16 walks during that span. Santana had only 11 doubles and five home runs in the first 64 games this season.

"He's been seeing the ball a lot better," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "It's good to see, because he's still a fairly young guy who needs to perform in order to keep his confidence level up. You can see in his game when he's doing well offensively. It's only human when you're that young.

"We need him badly. I'm happy for him, but I'm happy for our ball club. We're not going to go anywhere unless him and [Travis] Hafner swing the bat the way they're capable of."

Santana entered Wednesday's game hitting .237 with a .367 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 37 RBIs on the season.