Cleveland Notes: Napoli Santana Duo, Run Support, Carrasco, Injuries

The back-to-back duo of Napoli and Santana has proven to be a key part of the Cleveland lineup early on Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The back-to-back duo of Napoli and Santana has proven to be a key part of the Cleveland lineup early on
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

While Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli have not put up the most gaudy numbers early on, they have each had solid starts and their impact has trickled down throughout the Cleveland lineup. Having Napoli and Santana back-to-back deepens the lineup immensely, due to the fact that both hitters are very patient and will pound the baseball out of the stadium should you make a mistake. The patience of Napoli and Santana almost guarantees that one of them will see a pitch to hit, they will wear down the pitcher, and that the players ahead and behind them will reap the benefits. For pitchers, it becomes a decision on which one of them to pitch to. You can't just pitch around both of them and let them both walk, yet you can't pitch to both of them and risk the back-to-back long balls. This duo will not only be key to the teams success this season, but to each others success. 

Jason Kipnis launched his first homerun of 2016 on Wednesday evening, in a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays
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It's been no secret that the Indians have not supported their pitchers very well in recent years, and that the pitching has been absolutely phenomenal. Just how obvious is it? Wednesday's 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays pushed the Indians record to 149-15 when they score 4+ runs in support of their starting pitcher, dating back to the beginning of 2013 when Terry Francona took over as manager. Their overall record during that stretch is 261-230, making their record 112-215 when they score less than four runs to back their starter. 

Carlos Carrasco struck out 8 in 8 innings on Wednesday, getting the win against the Tampa Bay Rays
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With Carlos Carrasco's win on Wedneday (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K), Carrasco has now made 20 consecutive starts with 5+ strikeouts, which is third best in franchise history.

Outfielders Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley are nearing returns for the Cleveland Indians
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Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall are both very close to returning to the big leagues for Cleveland, and will both be in the lineup for the Akron Rubber Ducks tomorrow night. While no return date has been set for either player, they are both progressing well through the rehab process. Chisenhall is 0-8 in 3 AAA games, while Brantley went 1-2 with a double in his first rehab game Tuesday night. While we can expect them back in the lineup before April is over, it may be another week or so for both players.