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Cleveland Indians start second half by winning the Ohio Cup

Even a short week deserves some recognition.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Each week I select someone as the Cleveland Indians' top player of the previous week. Then, because this is a dictatorship, but not a totalitarian one, I let you all have your say as well. Some weeks it's a no-brainer, while other weeks there are multiple guys with a strong case. (Occasionally there are weeks when no one has a strong case.)

Previous winners:

  • April 6-12: Carlos Santana (my choice, and by a single vote, winner of the voting)
  • April 20-26: Brandon Moss (my choice), Michael Brantley (reader vote)
  • May 4-10: Danny Salazar (my choice), Jason Kipnis (reader vote)
  • May 11-17: Corey Kluber (my choice, and by a single vote, winner of the voting)
The All-Star break means last week was a short one for the Indians, and we're just looking at three games for the numbers below. Hooray for even smaller samples than usual!

The Candidates

Michael Brantley

Brantley hit .364/.533/.818 for the weekend, good for a wRC+ of 269. In Friday's loss he was the only Tribe player to reach safely more than once, as he collected two doubles and also drew a walk. On Saturday Brantley had only one hit, but it was a three-run homer that started the Indians on their way to a big win. On Sunday Brantley singled and also drew 3 walks for only the second time in his career. Two of those walks came with the bases loaded.

Carlos Carrasco

Carrasco started Sunday's rubber match, and gave up just 1 run on 4 hits and a walk over the course of 6 innings. A delayed start to the game meant extra warm up throws, and between that and the intense humidity of the afternoon meant Carrasco wasn't going to go all nine innings, and he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the 7th. Before that though, Carrasco picked up a hit in the 2nd inning, and also put down a pair of successful sacrifice bunts.

Yan Gomes

Gomes had a rough first half, but hit well during the last couple weeks before the break, and picked up a hit in each of the games in Cincinnati, giving him a .273/.333/.636 line for the series. His long home run to left-center field capped the Tribe scoring in Saturday's 9-4 romp. On Sunday Gomes drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in what proved to be the game-winning run. (It was Gomes' first walk in more than three weeks.) Good-hitting Yan seems to be back.

Jason Kipnis

Kipnis played in one game last week that none of his teammates were invited to. When the regular season returned, Kipnis got back to being one of the best players in baseball this season, hitting .417/.500/.417, with 5 hits over the weekend, including at least one in each game. He scored a couple runs and also stole his 11th base of the season.

The Verdict

There's something appealing about Carrasco pitching well and also collecting a hit, but while it's not his fault he threw only 6 innings, that's not enough to beat out Doc Smooth in my book, because Doc Smooth was awesome all weekend. If you care about WPA (Win Probability Added), know that Brantley collected a whopping .50 in those three games, while no one else topped 0.29. Brantley didn't just do well, he did well when the stakes were high. I don't think that's especially predictive, but I'm not trying to predict anything, I'm trying to honor the guy who had the best week for the Indians.

Congratulations, Michael!