The Cleveland Indians started their second half off by taking two of three from Minnesota, a team the Tribe had struggled against early in the year. The Indians got especially good work from their bullpen, as six relievers combined to pitch eight innings while allowing only three hits and no earned runs. The Tribe's AL Central lead currently sits at 6.5 games.
- April 4-10: Mike Napoli
- April 11-17: Jason Kipnis
- April 18-24: Francisco Lindor
- April 25-May 1: Carlos Santana (my pick), Tyler Naquin (reader vote)
- May 2-8: Francisco Lindor
- May 9-15: Jason Kipnis
- May 16-22: Rajai Davis
- May 23-29: Jose Ramirez
- May 30-June 5: Tyler Naquin
- June 6-12: Trevor Bauer
- June 13-19: Rajai Davis
- June 20-26: Francisco Lindor (my pick), Lonnie Chisenhall (reader vote)
- June 27-July 3: Carlos Santana
- July 4-10: Jason Kipnis
Kipnis went 5 for 12 over the weekend, batting .417/.500/.667, with a wRC+ of 217. He had three hits on Sunday, including his 20th home run of the season, and also stole his 6th base of the year. He started off the year somewhat slowly, but since June 1, Kipnis is batting 301/.378/.562, with eight home runs and ten doubles in 39 games.
Napoli also went 5 for 12 over the weekend, batting .417/.500/.917, with a wRC+ of 272. He had three hits Friday night, including a home run, and he homered again on Sunday, giving him 20 for the season, tied with Santana for the team lead. This is the earliest the Indians have had two players reach 20 home runs in a season since 2001.
On Friday Shaw made his 12th scoreless appearance in a row, pitching a 1-2-3 inning. Then on Saturday he did something he hadn't done all year, pitching two full innings, allowing only one base runner in the process, giving him a 0.00 ERA and 0.33 WHIP in his three innings of work for the week, with four strikeouts.
Sunday against Minnesota Tomlin pitched 7.2 innings, allowing just one run on six hits and a walk. Since the start of June Tomlin has made a quality start (6+ innings, no more than three earned runs) in seven of his eight opportunities, and has a 2.89 ERA in 53 innings during that time. Pretty good for a fifth starter!
Napoli and Kipnis had the same BA and OBP, so Napoli's additional power gives him the edge among the position players. A short week makes it a good opportunity for a pitcher to win though. Tomlin's start was very good, but Shaw struck out as many guys in his 3 innings as Tomlin did in his 7.2, and Shaw didn't allow a home run (Tomlin did). I'm really tempted to go with Shaw, for having been more effective this season than most of us have given him credit for, but Napoli's power output is enough to pull me onto his side of the debate. For the first time since the first week of the season, congratulations, Mike!