CLEVELAND -- The Indians are looking to finish out this season with as many positive vibes as possible. Making strides in areas of weakness over the final few games is a good way to accomplish that goal.
Over the course of September -- especially in the past week -- the Indians have shown strong progress with their performance against left-handed pitching. That is something interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. has enjoyed seeing.
"I'm pretty pleased," Alomar said. "I have to say that the team is doing much better against left-handed pitchers, which is a plus. We were outmatched against left-handers early in the year and through the middle of the year.
"Everybody was focusing and setting rotations against us. Now, that's not the case."
Entering Sunday's tilt with Kansas City, Cleveland had hit .356 (58-for-163) with a .426 on-base percentage and a .479 slugging percentage against lefties over the past eight games. In the previous 125 games, the Indians' slash line against southpaws was .224/.301/.341.
The Tribe has hit .289 with a .361 OBP and a .393 SLG against left-handers through 21 games in September.
"The guys are turning a corner on that," Alomar said. "They're giving better approaches. That's really going to help."
Chisenhall getting a taste of cleanup spot
CLEVELAND -- Sandy Alomar Jr. believes third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall has the potential to develop into a run producer for the Indians. As the season winds down, Cleveland's interim manager is giving Chisenhall an early audition.
Chisenhall was in the cleanup spot on Sunday for the second game in a row for the Indians. Alomar feels trusting the young third baseman with that role is a good way to give him a boost over the final week.
"I think Chisenhall is going to grow into a role like that," Alomar said. "He's going to become a pretty good hitter. I'm just giving him a spot in the four-hole, and I hope it'll help his confidence build up like the player he's supposed to be."
During Saturday's 7-6 loss in 14 innings to the Royals, Chisenhall went 3-for-7 with a run-scoring double and a walk in his first taste of the four-hole. It marked the second three-hit game in a row for Chisenhall, continuing his solid September.
Since rejoining the Indians' lineup on Sept. 10, following a two-month stay on the disabled list due to a fractured right forearm, Chisenhall has hit .291 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 15 games for the Tribe.
"He did a great job," Alomar said of Chisenhall's first game as the cleanup hitter. "He's swinging the bat much better. I feel like I can increase his confidence level much higher."
Chisenhall went 0-for-3 in the Indians' 15-3 win on Sunday, and is batting .277 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 40 games this year.
Quote to note
"[Carrera] went a little bit off the base. He didn't tag up right away, but it was going to be tough for him to score on [Jeff] Francoeur right there. It was a line drive, and it wasn't that far. Even if he tagged up, I think he had a good chance to get him. He's got one of the best arms in the league."
--Indians interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr., on why Ezequiel Carrera did not try to score on Lonnie Chisenhall's flyout to right field in the 14th inning of Saturday's 7-6 loss
The Indians drew 12 walks in Saturday's loss, marking the second game this season the team has had at least a dozen free passes. It is only the eighth time since 1918 (first since 1996) that a Cleveland club has had two such games in a single season. That feat has only been accomplished nine times over the past 10 seasons. The Indians are the first with two such games in one year since the 2010 Yankees had a pair of games with at least 12 walks drawn.
Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was back in the starting lineup on Sunday, after sitting out two games with a mid-back strain. Cabrera did play the last seven innings, and had four at-bats, in Saturday's 7-6, 14-inning loss to Kansas City. Cabrera hit a grand slam in the fifth inning of Sunday's 15-3 win, and was 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored for the afternoon.
Indians center fielder Michael Brantley, who has been battling a sore left groin for the past week, was out of the starting lineup on Sunday. Like Cabrera, Brantley played the final seven innings (with four plate appearances) in Saturday's 14-inning defeat.