It's time for our weekly look at the Indians' top players of the last seven days, in which one man is chosen as better than the rest. Be sure to vote for you choice in the poll included at the bottom.
The Indians got the best starting pitching they've had in a while last week, and could have gone 5-0 if the offense had been up to providing even average run support every game. Which start was the best, and did any hitter do enough to block the rotation from winning this honor?
In the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader, Bauer pitched maybe the best game of his career to date. He finished 8 innings for the first time, and he allowed only 2 runs, with 9 strikeouts and only 2 walks. Plus, he didn't allow any home runs.
Saturday night against Baltimore, Carrasco cemented himself a spot in the rotation for the rest of the season by tossing 7 shutout innings. He had 5 strikeouts, allowed only 3 hits, and didn't walk anybody. He's still on a pitch count, as he stretches his arm back out after months in the bullpen, otherwise he might have gone all 9 innings.
Kluber struck out 10 in 7.2 innings Friday night against Baltimore (his 8th 10+ K game of the season, tied with Dennis Eckersley in 1976 for the most such games by a Tribe starter in the 5-man rotation era). He left the game with a shutout intact, but the bullpen allowed his base runner to score.
The one position player to have a great week for the Tribe (not withstanding walk-off homers for Walters and Aviles), Santana hit .294/.429/.588, with 4 walks, 2 doubles, and a home run. The home run came in the 1st inning on Saturday, against LGFT Ubaldo Jimenez, and felt like a personal gift to me on the day of my bachelor party.
Santana's hitting was great, but I think last week belonged to the rotation. If the single Kluber had allowed in the 8th inning had been an out instead, he would have finished with 8 shutout innings, and probably been my pick for the third week in a row. Even with the run he allowed, he'd be a fine choice. Trevor Bauer would be too (he had the highest WAR for the week). For me though, Carrasco going 7 innings without allowing a home run or a walk was the top performance.
Congratulations to Carlos Carrasco, a name I didn't expect to be typing in this space when the season began!