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.
There are three deserving candidates this week, each with a compelling case, and one guy who should be thrilled just to be nominated, knowing he'll finish a distant 4th place in the voting.
How about a moment to appreciate what Atchison has done this season, posting a 2.76 ERA in 49.0 innings. Everyone who expected that from him raise your hand and out yourself as a liar. Thursday he entered a tie game and recorded 3 outs. Saturday he was brought in with the game tied, but two men on and no outs; got out of the jam and then recorded two more outs in the next inning. Sunday he was brought into a tie game, struck out the only batter he faced. Three appearances, each time with the game tied, and he didn't allow anyone to score. That's not going to be enough to win him this honor, but it was a great week.
Brantley hit .391/.481/.696 in 27 plate appearances last week, good for a wRC+ of 229. He tied for the team lead in hits, with 9, including a triple and a home run. That home run wasn't some run-of-the-mill shot either, it was a walk-off shot in the 12th inning on Sunday, completing the Tribe sweep of Texas. Brantley also had big hits in Thursday and Friday's games, and has boosted his average to .322, 4th in the American League.
Kluber pitched only one game, but it was another brilliant performance. Wednesday against Seattle the Klubot struck out 8 while pitching the first shutout of his career. More than that, it was also the first Maddux of his career, and only the 7th the Indians have ever had. Kluber needed only 85 pitches, the fewest in any shutout this season, and the fewest on record for the Tribe. Kluber has pitched more great games this season than most Tribe starters do in their entire career.
Murphy hit .429/.478/.762 in 23 plate appearances last week, good for a wRC+ of 244. He tied for the team lead in hits, with 9, including 4 doubles and a home run. He led the team with 5 RBI for the week too. He didn't do much against Seattle, but he destroyed his former team (Texas) twice over the weekend. On Friday he had 4 hits, including a pair of doubles, and on Sunday he tied the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th. He also made a pair of very nice catches that afternoon.
I think this is one of the toughest calls of the season. I expect the balloting will be close, and ultimately, I bet the voting will land on a different winner than I do. If you want to go with a hitter, Brantley and Murphy are awfully hard to separate this week. Both had a multiple big games. Maybe Murphy's catches on Sunday give him a slight boost, or maybe Brantley having more big games for the big should give him the edge. Either would be a fine pick.
Call me biased, but I can't pick anyone over the guy who pitched the Tribe's first Maddux in more than five years. Kluber vs. Felix Hernandez was as good a pitching matchup as the American League can give you this season, and they both lived up to the hype. Watching Kluber get the best of it was probably as much fun as I've had with the Tribe this season, and he's my pick for Indians Player of the Week.
Congratulations to the Klubot!