There have been high points and there have been low points during the first two months of the baseball season for the Cleveland Indians.
The recently concluded visit to Chicago proved to be another of those low points, as the Indians were swept by the White Sox in three games at U.S. Cellular Field to fall to 24-30 on the year. The Indians, sitting in last (fifth) place in the American League Central, have suffered through season-long slumps from both Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana and now see both missing from the lineup and on the disabled list.
Swisher, batting .211 with three home runs and 19 RBI, is nursing a bad knee while Santana, hitting just .159 with six home runs and 17 RBI, will return after he recovers from concussion symptoms. But when both return, they need to contribute in a big way or the hopes of a return to the American League playoffs might be a distant dream that will get away long before the All-Star Game in mid-July.
Since dropping all three in a home series with the Oakland A's in which the Tribe was outscored, 30-6, the Indians rebounded with a 3-game sweep of the first place Detroit Tigers and split four in Baltimore.
But the road trip ended with the Indians being outscored 11-6 with losses of 6-2, 2-1 and 3-2 in the Windy City. The third came when the White Sox took advantage of a throwing error by Mike Aviles that led to the game winning run in the ninth inning. It spoiled a fine outing by T.J. House, who received no decision after going 6.1 innings, allowing just one run.
The Indians, 11-17 in the month of April, still have a good chance of securing a winning May, entering the final two games with a 13-13 ledger. The first two of three at home against the Colorado Rockies at Progressive Field will be played before the calendar turns to June and anything but being swept will give the Indians a .500 or better mark for the month.
Cleveland, which sees Swisher and Santana sidelines, gets back second baseman Jason Kipnis from the disabled list along with designated hitter Jason Giambi. Kipnis had a strained right oblique while Giambi returns after suffering a strained right calf.
The six-game home stand that starts with three with Colorado, ends with the only visit of the year from defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox, fresh from a 10-game losing streak. The Indians host night games June 2-3-4 with the Red Sox with the June 3 game featuring a Michael Bourn bobble head giveaway to the first 10,000 fans in attendance.
Then it is back on the road where the Indians play four in Texas against the Rangers (June 6-7-8-9), go to Kansas City for two (June 10-11) and finish the trip in Boston, playing for at Fenway Park (June 12-13-14-15).