Santana dropped out of cleanup spot

Carlos Santana was mercifully dropped in the lineup on Friday, the first time in his career he did not hit either 3rd or 4th.

There’s a decent chance he’ll climb back up later this season, but what if he doesn’t? Where would his miserably stint as the cleanup hitter rank in Indians history?

Over the past 90 seasons 132 different players have started at least 40 games in the four-hole in an individual year. Of those 132 only Moose Solters, who hit cleanup 44 times in 1938, posted a lower batting average than Santana.

Solters season was a confusing one. The previous year he hit .323 with 20 homers – just the 4th different Indian to reach the 20 home run plateau. I did some research to see if I could find the reason for Solters decline (perhaps an injury) but found only this mention from the Baseball Biography Project:

Solters had played well under manager Steve O’Neill in 1937, but new skipper Ossie Vitt was another story altogether in 1938. For whatever reason, perhaps his holdout, Vitt played Solters rather little. He went into a prolonged slump and by that time, Vitt couldn’t in all fairness to the team keep sending him out there day after day. He benched Solters. Moose recovered some in 1939, and was hitting .275 after his first 41 games. He was put on waivers and claimed by his old team, the Browns, for the $7,500 waiver price.

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LaPorta homers in 3 straight

Matt LaPorta found his swing in Columbus. Or at least his home run swing.

Since being recalled on on June 27, LaPorta is 5-17 in five games. Three of his five hits have been home runs – one each in his last three games.

A three-game home run streak is nothing unusual, Jhonny Peralta, Mark DeRosa and Travis Hafner each had one last year. But a streak in which the only hits are home runs is a little more rare.

Over the last 50 seasons only seven different Indians, not including LaPorta, had a home run streak of at least three games in which their only hits were homers. LaPorta’s streak is the first since Hafner in 2005. The king of the all-or-nothing streak is, of course, Jim Thome.