July 24, 2014

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Indians notes: Tribe struggling, could use help

CLEVELAND — Indians manager Manny Acta was asked Monday what concerned him most about his team — offensive or pitching struggles — which entered Monday with five losses in six games and a 6-11 record since Memorial Day.

“Both, Acta said. “We knew having (designated hitter) Travis (Hafner) out of our lineup was going to affect us a little bit. But, you win with pitching, and right now we’re second-to-last in ERA in the league, so that’s something that needs to be addressed. I don’t see too many teams making the playoffs being second-to-last in ERA. You really are going to have to out-slug people seriously to overcome that.”

Cleveland entered Monday ranked 17th in the majors in offense, scoring 4.3 runs per game, with a team batting average of .250. It’s pitching staff ranked fourth-worst in the big leagues with a 4.55 ERA — ahead of only Houston, Minnesota and Colorado.

What’s the remedy? Outside of promoting someone from the minors, the Indians will have an opportunity to make a move at the July 31 trading deadline. They will most likely be in search of a starting pitcher and left fielder.

“Everybody needs something, but it’s not like going to the store and grabbing a can of tomato sauce,” Acta said. “You have your necessities but sometimes they’re not there for you to grab, and it takes two to tango, just like everything in life.

“I think we do need some help. I think the Yankees do, too. Go ask them. They probably do need some help in some department.”

 

What’s up?

Acta said he spoke to All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera about failing to run hard on a single that he was ultimately thrown out trying to stretch into a double in the ninth inning Sunday.

After the game, Cabrera admitted to not going full-go, saying he thought the ball was going to be caught.

“Cabby’s a guy, that we don’t make a lot of things public, but he plays through a lot of pain at times,” Acta said. “We respect him for that, but I spoke to him about it.”

 

Raffy’s return

Though Manny Acta provided no update on reliever Rafael Perez, the left-hander told The Chronicle on Monday that he expects to return to the mound in two weeks.

Perez (strained left lat) has been on the disabled list since April 27, and Acta said he expects him back before the season is complete.

“Yes, (we expect him back) we just don’t have a timetable yet,” Acta said.

 

Moving down

Acta dropped a slumping Carlos Santana to sixth in the order. The catcher entered Monday batting .122 (6-for-49) over his last 14 games to drop his season average from .262 to .227.

“He’s been scuffling a little bit,” Acta said. “We’re just trying not to put any added pressure on him and doing the best we can to put the best lineup out there to help us win.”

Acta said Santana is still battling extra body movement at the plate.

 

No big deal

Acta said umpires did not speak to him prior to the series with Cincinnati. The two teams appeared to be involved in a simmering feud that began last week when Cleveland pitcher Derek Lowe and Reds manager Dusty Baker exchanged disparaging words during Cincinnati’s sweep of the Indians.

Acta downplayed the incident and Baker had no comment, but did say the Indians-Reds rivalry is real.

“When you give away a trophy it must be important,” Baker said of the Ohip Cup trophy presented to the team that wins the most head-to-head match ups during the season. “It’s automatically a rivalry. There’s only two teams in Ohio. They have a lot to say about where we finish and vise versa.”

The two teams play each other six times each season.

Roundin’ third

Jason Kipnis moved up to fourth place in American League All-Star voting behind second basemen Ian Kinsler (Texas), Robinson Cano (New York) and Dustin Pedroia (Boston). Cabrera, last year’s All-Star starter for the AL, remained fourth behind New York’s Derek Jeter, Texas’ Elvis Andrus and Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy. … Tonight, 7:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM. Tomlin (3-4, 5.56) vs. Leake (2-5, 5.05).

 

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.