The Cleveland Indians lost a makeup game against Boston, but recovered to take two of three from the White Sox, and another two of three from the Blue Jays, with the series against Toronto having the look and feel of postseason baseball. The Tribe have reestablished a seven-game lead over Detroit in the AL Central, and are only half a game behind Texas for the best record in the American League.
Which players were tops for the week?
- 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
- July 11-17: Mike Napoli
- July 18-24: Tyler Naquin
- July 25-31: Jose Ramirez (my pick), Tyler Naquin (reader vote)
- August 1-7: Mike Napoli
- August 8-14: Jose Ramirez
Bauer walked a batter and gave up a two-run homer in the first inning on Friday, and it looked like it might be one of those nights for him. Instead though, Bauer followed up that rough first with the best seven-inning stretch of his career, finishing the night with just those two runs on five hits and two walks in eight innings, and using a fantastic curve ball to help him compile a career-high 13 strikeouts.
Chisenhall got only 16 plate appearances last week, but made them count, hitting .375/.375/.813, with a team-best wRC+ of 217. He had three hits on Wednesday against Chicago, including a two-run homer that opened the scoring. He homered again on Saturday, a three-run shot that tied the game after the Tribe had fallen into a big hole, and the culmination of a ten-pitch at bat. His six RBI during the week tied for the team lead.
Kluber made two starts last week, and while neither of them was a gem, both were good. On Tuesday he allowed one run in six innings against the White Sox, striking out seven. On Sunday against the Blue Jays he gave up two runs in 6.2 innings of work, striking out eight. He might have gone longer in that one if he hadn't uncharacteristically walked four batters, tying his season high. (In fact, it ties his career high, which says something pretty good about his career to date.)
Ramirez hit .259/.310/.519 in 29 plate appearances, with a wRC+ of 118. That's a good line, but not the sort one usually sees from a Player of the Week candidate. Ramirez's week was marked by incredibly clutch timing though, as evidenced by his 0.78 WPA (win probability added), third-best among all position players in MLB for the week. He singled in the tying run in the eighth on Thursday, hit a game-tying home run in the ninth on Friday, and turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead with a two-run blast in the eight inning on Sunday.
I know there will be calls for Tyler Naquin, given that he hit the team's first walk-off inside-the-park home run in 100 years Friday night, and I'll grant you that as the moment of the season so far (it might seem tough to beat, but let yourself have a minute to imagine the possibilities of October), but he didn't have quite enough else going on last week. We'll all remember that moment for a long, long time though. As for the four I did choose, picking a winner is tough this week. Kluber's starts were good, but not great. Bauer would have been an easy choice if his first inning has been like his last seven, and Chisenhall's batting line would make him a strong choice if he'd started all seven games. WPA doesn't have much in the way of predictive value, but this award isn't about predictive value, it's about looking at what already happened and singling out the biggest contributors. Jose Ramirez had three huge hits in the span of four games, leading the team in runs scored and RBI in a week where every run meant a great deal. For the third time in four weeks, he's my pick.
Congratulations again, Jose!