Travis Hafner is the Indians' designated hitter. When he starts, it is never in the field, but always in the DH spot. This is because he is not a good fielder and it hurts a team to have such a liability anywhere in the field. Why can the Twins not do this with Matt LeCroy? If Fatty has any real value (which is becoming more and more doubtful as the season progresses), it is certainly not in the field. In fact, he is an absolutely terrible fielder. We've seen it in the past with his inability to make the slightly tougher plays, like stabbing a ball on the short hop or ranging one step to his right or left, but tonight he made two very ugly errors. When you have a pitcher on the hill in Carlos Silva who puts the ball in play and depends on his fielders to make outs, this can't happen. I'll honestly be surprised if LeCroy starts another game at first base this season.
Speaking of Silva, he had a typical Silva game. 7 innings pitched, 9 hits allowed, no strikeouts. The performance extended an impressive streak of 8 starts in which he has gone 7+ innings, but this one was not nearly as impressive as his last few. The stat that killed him was the two gopherballs he gave up, which accounted for 3 of Cleveland's 4 runs.
I really don't like what Ron Gardenhire has done with the lineup. Nick Punto is an absolutely PERFECT number 2 hitter. He's a switch-hitter with a near-.300 average, he's fast, he's a phenomenal bunter, and he sees a decent number of pitches. I was curious to see what Gardy would do tonight with Joe Mauer returning to the lineup after a five-game hiatus, thinking there was no way he could move Punto out of the number 2 slot considering how well he's been hitting lately. To my disgust, he did. He stuck Mauer back into the order between Shannon Stewart and Lew Ford and slid Punto all the way down to the 8th spot. In my opinion, the move that needs to be made here is clear: Punto second, Mauer fifth. While I do like the idea of splitting up Mauer and Justin Morneau, Joe needs to be hitting in the middle of the lineup where he can drive in runs.
Speaking of Morneau, if he can't learn to hit the ball on the outside corner, he shouldn't be in the Major Leagues. Period. It is utterly embarrassing how every team has completely figured him out and all they need to do is take a quick look at the scouting report to learn how to pitch to him and make him essentially an automatic out.