Friday 5: Key players who will propel the Cleveland Indians to the top

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Apr 17, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view of a glove laying on the field before a game between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Despite their dreadfully slow start, the Cleveland Indians are still within striking distance for the AL Central division crown. Who are the five keys to the Tribe’s offensive success the rest of the way?

The Cleveland Indians stumbled out of the gate and, after a hot start from the rest of the division, the Tribe found themselves looking way up at the division leader.

With both Kansas City and Detroit sputtering as of late, the Tribe is still just six games out of first place (behind the red-hot Minnesota Twins). They sit one game behind the Tigers, who are 2-8 in their last 10, and just five back from the Royals, who have lost seven of their last 10 games.

It is anybody’s division.

While Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley are certainly important to the Tribe’s success offensively, the team has to get more production throughout the lineup in order to make a serious run at the division crown.

The Indians have already scored more runs than everyone in the division not named the Twins and their 3.97 ERA from the starters, which will only get better as the season progresses, still sits slightly above the league average.

There is certainly room for improvement and, if they expect to challenge the likes of Minnesota, Kansas City and Detroit, here are the five players who have to have the biggest impact on the Cleveland Indians’ offense by the end of the year.

Next: A prolific backstop

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