Clevelinks: Cleveland Indians’ Michael Brantley Returns


Brantley nears  return, and did the Cleveland Indians late-season resurgence save Tito’€™s job?

The Cleveland Indians faced high expectations entering the year. Sports Illustrated picked them to win the World Series, and many fans chose them to win the American League Central. Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, and Trevor Bauer looked primed to join reigning Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber, in the realm of aces. Adding this to a team with MVP candidate Michael Brantley, slugger Carlos Santana, and then bounce-back likely Jason Kipnis made the Tribe look ready to dominate.

What actually occurred, however, was from the scripted glory. The Indians got off to a slow start, and when they managed to claw their way back near .500, they lost it again. Now nearing October, the team has yet to be above .500 for more than one or two days. Given the struggles, some wondered if Terry Francona would be out of a job come November, by Nick Blazek thinks that Francona may have saved his job with the late-season rally. Tito has managed to keep the Indians in the playoff talks without having a full starting rotation or a clear fifth starter.

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In other news, Michael Brantley did not return last night. The outfielder had been out of the lineup for a few days with a sore shoulder, but he was supposed to make his return last night. Right before the game, however, the team scratched Brantley from the lineup. Before fans begin to panic, the injury did not worsen, rather the team wanted to give him a little extra rest.

This season has been a solid follow-up to last year’s breakout. The 28-year-old has posted an impressive .314/.381/.486 slash-line, although his power has slightly regressed from last year’€™s peak. All in all, the slight drops in power and batting average have led to a drop from an MVP quality to an All-Star quality season. FanGraphs rates his season as 3.9 wins above that of a replacement player in just 135 games. Had he played as many games this year as last, he would have accrued 4.5 wins instead of 3.9.

More from around the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians: Did Terry Francona Save His Job with the Late Playoff Push? – Wahoo’s on First

Cleveland Indians: Michael Brantley’s Shoulder Injury Comes at a Terrible Time – Wahoo’s on First

Kansas City Royals begin Victory Lap Against Cleveland Indians  – Kings of Kauffman

‘Carrasco flirts with no-hitter in Indians victory’ –

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