Cleveland Indians: Who’s hot? Who’s not? after Week 6


There is no denying the Cleveland Indians were a lot more fun to watch this week.

They played an even 3-3, losing two of three to St. Louis before taking the series in Arlington, Tex. Heading into another divisional series with the Chicago White Sox tonight, the Tribe is looking to win consecutive series for the first time this season — and they’ll need to take three games from Chicago to do so in an extended four-game set — before returning home to face their in-state foes Cincinnati Reds.

Yan Gomes continues to mend and will begin a rehab assignment with Columbus tonight. While the looming return of Gomes is certainly not the only answer to Cleveland’s hopeful returned prowess, returning a potential All-Star backstop is certainly a step in the right direction — both offensively and defensively.

Let’s take a look at who’s hot and who’s not after the sixth week of the season:

May 12, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman

Jason Kipnis

(22) celebrates after scoring during the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s hot?

Jason Kipnis

Who did you expect? There isn’t a hotter player in all of baseball right now. Over the last seven days, Kipnis has posted a ridiculous .583/.677/.875 triple-slash line. He hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth to lead the Tribe to a series victory and he’s added four doubles in eight games. The Indians’ second baseman leads the majors in both hits and average; he ranks second in doubles; and he’s third in runs scored in the last week. Given his current .340/.406/.507 effort on the season, Kipnis has to be leading the way in AL All-Star voting. He’s been that good.

Corey Kluber

Anyone who attended or watched the performance by Kluber this week witnessed history. While some might argue he should have stayed on the bump for the final three outs, there is no arguing the filthy performance by the Indians’ reigning Cy Young winner. Coming into the week with an 0-5 record, Kluber picked up his first win in impressive fashion. He tossed eight innings of one-hit ball and struck out 18 — or six innings worth — of hitters. He became just the second pitcher in Cleveland Indians’ history — second only to Tribe legend Bob Feller — to record that many strikeouts in a nine-inning game and the first since Feller did it back in Fall 1938. Couple that with the fact the Tribe ace will be getting his favorite backstop back any day now, and the Indians have a lot to be excited about.

Michael Brantley

This is the way it was supposed to be. All three of the Tribe’s big guns are carrying the load both offensively and defensively, and the Tribe is coming off their first series victory since the opener. Though overlooked by Kipnis’s current tear, Brantley has been nothing short of fantastic this week. He owns a .381/.500/.762 triple-slash line and leads the team in extra-base hits (6), RBIs (6) and walks (6). He’s even added a stolen base for good measure. With Kipnis and Brantley at the top of the order, the Tribe offense appears more formidable than it did in the early going. It’s only a matter of time before that translates to wins.

May 16, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Cleveland Indians third baseman

Lonnie Chisenhall

(8) singles during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s not?

Carlos Santana

Much like a number of other Indians players this season, Santana has a bad tendency to play without much consistency. He’s either hot or he’s cold. There’s not normally an in-between. Fortunately, Santana is an walk-machine and his ability to get on base often overshadows his inability to hit for a consistent average because he scores runs. Not this week. Despite walking five times, Santana posted a putrid .105/.280/.105 triple-slash line. He struck out seven times, scored just one run and had just one RBI. Santana is a key cog at the top of the Tribe’s lineup, so he has to be more consistent if the Indians want to compete for a division crown.

Scott Atchison

The Tribe’s elder statesman was so good last season, posting a 2.75 ERA in 70 appearances out of the Indians’ bullpen while allowing just four home runs in 72 innings pitched. This year, he has left a lot to be desired. In sixteen total appearances, Atchison has been hit for three home runs and seven earned runs across 12.2 innings pitched. In the last seven days alone, Atchison has allowed two round-trippers, including one that nearly cost the Tribe a win on Saturday evening. The bullpen is supposed to be a point of strength for Cleveland, and Atchison is assumed to be on the strong suits. He will have to be more dependable if the Indians expect to continue giving him the ball in late-game situations.

Lonnie Chisenhall

Chisenhall was great when the Tribe need him on Saturday evening, starting the comeback rally in the top of the ninth with a broken bat double down the right field line — but that was just about his only contribution of the week. Overall, Chisenhall was just 4-for-22 (.182) in six games this week. He struck out five times, scored one run and drove in two RBIs. It was certainly an underwhelming performance from the Tribe’s third baseman, especially given his struggles in the field.

Next: Week 5 - Who's hot? Who's not?