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Francisco Lindor leads Cleveland Indians over Royals with 3-for-4, 4 RBI night

And some highlight reel worthy defensive plays, no big deal.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Indians 5, Royals 1

Box Score

Indians fall to 72-72


Danny Salazar pitched a gem, and Mike Aviles even did a thing on defense. There, that is almost everything noteworthy about this game besides a certain Rookie of the Year candidate padding the hell out of his resume.

Ok, that is not entirely true, but September 16, 2015, in Cleveland, Ohio is when and where Francisco Lindor began his ascension to the next step. Whether that next step is just the 2015 Rookie of the Year or 17-straight MVP seasons and having several city libraries named in his honor is still up in the air, but one thing is for certain. He was awesome tonight.

Lindor began his night by casually hitting a clock bomb into the left field bleachers, and then followed that up with a two-run single in the second inning, and another RBI hit in the fourth inning. Without Lindor hitting the way he did, tonight’s contest would have looked completely different. No first inning lead, no knocking Danny Duffy out after only 2.1 innings, and no batting practice against a rapidly declining Royals bullpen. Salazar cruised through his required 7.0 innings allowing only four hits and striking out six, but without that run cushion who is to say he would not have pressed a few extra pitches here and there (like one that Mike Moustakas sent over the right field wall) that wind up being hit hard?

It is also worth noting that Lindor finished the night with a comically high .250 WPA. No, that is not a fancy way of saying batting average; he finished the game with a .250 win probability added. For the uninitiated, that essentially means that (if my decimal-moving skills have not rusted since fifth grade) Lindor gave the Indians a 25% better chance of winning the game.  Meanwhile, poor Danny Duffy finished with a -.295 WPA. Sorry (not sorry).

I am always pretty focused on just the game when watching, so I do not yet know how much national attention Lindor is getting because of his performance. If it is not much, it’s a shame that this had to happen the same night as the RNC debate, and halfway through football’s first week of regular season action. A lot of Rookie of the Year voters have already subconsciously chosen Carlos Correa as their winner, but tonight could steal away a few of those votes on its own. And don’t even get me started on if this kicks off a playoff run for the Tribe – the Rookie of the Year chants better be deafening at that point.

One encouraging thing about tonight’s game that is surprisingly not Francisco Lindor related is the fact that Jason Kipnis looked a bit better. He has not looked good lately, as Jason Lukeheart detailed earlier today, but he did manage a single in the second inning that scored Abraham Almonte and nothing negative stuck out on defense.

Carlos Santana also proved, once again, that he is not the worst thing in the entire history of the universe -- as some fans would lead you to believe -- by stealing his 11th base on the season.

At the time of this writing, the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers game is currently tied, the Texas Rangers are crushing the Houston Astros, and the Los Angeles Angels are preparing to take on the lowly Seattle Mariners. The Tribe’s playoff odds are still going to be low by night's end, but Francisco Lindor has done every single thing he can to help raise them.

Win Expectancy Chart

Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call

Game Thread

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