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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Terry Francona open to suggestions on changing Guardians’ slumping lineup

CLEVELAND, Ohio — If you have a suggestion on how to revive the Guardians’ lineup, manager Terry Francona is all ears.

In his meeting with reporters Francona was asked what would prompt him to change the lineup.

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Francona said, “When there’s a reason to change it. When it better suits us.

“I would ask you, ‘Who would you move up?’ If you have somebody you think should move up, tell me. I want to make sure if a guy is struggling, they can handle it. Part of developing guys is not getting them beat up. We’re trying to accomplish a few things.”

The Guardians entered Friday’s series opener against the Cardinals having lost seven of their last nine games and 13 of their last 30. They are last in the big leagues in runs (169) and homers (30).

Offensively, they are a mess.

“We need to do better,” said Francona. “If yelling and screaming at them would make them do better, I’d do it. That’s not going to make somebody hit.

“If I felt changing the lineup would make somebody hit, I’d do it. This is a rarity where everybody isn’t at their (normal level). Usually it’s three guys (that are hot), three guys (that are cold) and everybody else is in the middle. We’re going to have to work through it.”

Here’s the lineup Francona used Friday night and the skids his players are in:

  • LF Steven Kwan: 0 for 8, 17 for 78 (.218).
  • SS Amed Rosario: 0 for 10, 5 for 40 (.125).
  • 3B Jose Ramirez: 0 for 4, 3 for 22 (.136).
  • DH Josh Bell 0 for 4, one extra base hit in the last 21 games.
  • 1B Josh Naylor: 2 for 7, 11 for 32 (.344).
  • RF Gabriel Arias: 0 for 5, 9 for 39 (.231).
  • 2B Andres Gimenez: 4 for 7, 14 for 66 (.212).
  • C Mike Zunino: 0 for 4, 2 for 36 (.055), 23 strikeouts.
  • CF Myles Straw: 3 for 19 (158), 10 for 61 (.164).

Francona was asked if the Guardians could take solace from the Cardinals, who have gone 13-5 after a 10-24 start.

“I try to stay with us, what we can do,” said Francona. “The guys they have, there’s a pretty good track record with a lot of them. They’re starting to play catch up and that makes them very dangerous.”

Which leaves the Guardians with the task of fixing their offense a player at a time. One of those players is Andres Gimenez, the All-Star and Gold Glove second baseman from last year.

“I think he’s been overtrying. . .trying to do too much.” Francona said.

Gimenez is hitting .236 (39 for 165) with seven doubles, three homers and nine RBI in 46 games. After 46 games last year, Gimenez was hitting .305 (46 for 149) with nine doubles, seven homers an 31 RBI.

The left-handed hitting Gimenez has spent a lot of time trying to hit to the opposite field without overwhelming results.

“He’s losing his base (feet),” said Francona. “All he has left after that are his hands and you’re just kind of fighting off what you have left.”

It’s just one more thing the Guardians have to fix — Gimenez’s base. They have time, but the season waits for no one.

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