Last year, only three American League teams made more errors than the Indians. So far this year, no team has made fewer errors than the Indians. That's single biggest reason for Cleveland's fast start this season, according to manager Manny Acta.
The Indians' eight-game winning streak ended Tuesday night in a 2-0 loss to the Angels, but Cleveland once again did not make an error. The Indians lead the majors with a .990 fielding percentage. Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Philadelphia are tied for the big-league lead with four errors.
The improved defense has been keyed by two new additions: second baseman Orlando Cabrera and third baseman Jack Hannahan. In particular, Hannahan has been a vast defensive improvement at third base, which was a defensive disaster last season for the team.
Acta said the organization went into the last offseason with one of its goals being to improve the defense. The feeling was that better defense would help bolster the pitching staff, and that's exactly what's happened.
The Indians are sixth in the American League with a 3.49 ERA after Tuesday's 2-0 loss to the Angels. That's significantly better than the club's 4.30 ERA of last year, which ranked 11th in the AL.
The infield defense and pitching go hand-in-hand because of the makeup of the rotation. Cleveland has a preponderance of sinkerball pitchers who induce a lot of groundballs. Many of those grounders were not turned into outs last year. This year, the infield is getting the job done.
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