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Excellent work from the starting rotation led the Cleveland Indians to a big week

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Not an easy decision this time.

Kim Klement-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)
Ending the week with back-to-back losses was frustrating, but the five consecutive wins before that were great, and just what the team needed to convince fans that the season isn't over yet. It was a week in which the Tribe got some great pitching performances, but also saw the offense come to life for the first time in a long while, an offense that was led by a very familiar face around these parts.

The Candidates

Cody Anderson

Monday in Tampa Bay Anderson pitched 8 innings, allowing only 1 run on just 2 hits, without walking anybody. He picked up his first Major League win. Then on Saturday in Pittsburgh, Anderson again pitched 8 innings, again allowing only 1 run. He gave up a whopping 6 hits that time, but once more without any walks. He picked up his first Major League loss though, because the Tribe offense was a no-show. Pitcher wins and losses, what are you going to do? A 1.13 ERA and 0.50 WHIP over 16 innings... that's an awfully good week.

Carlos Carrasco

Wednesday in Tampa Bay, Carrasco was perfect through six innings and had a no-hitter going into the 9th. He walked the leadoff man and then hit the next batter, putting two on but maintaining the no-no. Next came a ground out and a strikeout, then quickly gained an 0-2 count and was a strike away from the Indians' first no-hitter since 1981. Alas, the next pitch was lined a foot over the outstretched glove of Jason Kipnis, ended the no-hitter and driving in a run. Carrasco was pulled (to a standing ovation from the road crowd), ending the night with 1 run in 8.2 innings, and 13 strikeouts.

Jason Kipnis

Another week, another bunch of bunch of hits for Kipnis, whose slash line for the seven days was .321/.424/.536 in 33 plate appearances, giving him a wRC+ of 169. He had 9 hits on the week, including 3 doubles (he has a league-leading 27 of those already) and a home run. He drove in 4 runs and scored 7 of them. He continued to be awesome.

Corey Kluber

Kluber started Thursday's series finale against the Rays, and went 8 innings deep. He allowed 4 runs, 3 of them earned, which is good but not great. Anyone watching the game would have noticed that a number of the hits Kluber allowed were awfully close to being outs: seeing-eye singles and balls that deflected off the glove of a teammate. Only one hit went for extra-bases, and Kluber struck out 14 while walking only 1. His FIP for the game was -0.04, but he had tough luck.

The Verdict

This is a really difficult call for me. Kipnis was great again, but I find myself drawn to the pitchers. Kluber had the lowest FIP, but in honoring a player for having been good over a short stretch, I tend not to lean on FIP much, not because it doesn't mean anything, but because I tend to shrug my shoulders at luck (both good and bad) when picking the Player of the Week. That leaves Anderson and Carrasco. Carrasco pitched the game of the week to be sure, but Anderson pitched almost as deep into the game while also allowing only one run... and he did it twice.

Here perhaps I will let the idea of FIP color my take just a bit. Carrasco had 13 strikeouts in his game, while Anderson totaled only 6 between his two starts. Add in a little extra credit for how close to history Carrasco came, and how joyfully he handled the one hit he allowed (smiling, laughing, and applauding the effort Kipnis made on a ball he had no chance to catch), I'm siding with him.

Congratulations, Carlos!