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Despite losing record for the week, Cleveland Indians close in on AL Central title

Exercise your democratic rights.

David Maxwell/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians went 3-4 last week, winning just one of four games in Chicago before returning home and taking two of three from Detroit, allowing the Tribe to build on its lead despite a losing week. Unfortunately, Saturday’s game also featured a season-ending injury for Carlos Carrasco, increasing the degree of difficulty for postseason success. I’ll worry about the postseason when it arrives, and bemoan the many injuries to key players if things don’t go well. Right now I’m focused on enjoying the finals days of closing in the AL Central crown.

Which players did the most to help the team’s cause last week, as they got closer to that crown?

The Candidates

Brandon Guyer

Guyer hit .444/.500/.778, with a wRC+ of 245 in 10 plate appearances. Guyer started three games and had at least one hit and one RBI in each of them, including his first home run in a month on Tuesday. He also made a really nice sliding catch near the left-field line on Sunday.

Andrew Miller

Miller appeared in three games last week, with only two batters reaching base and none of them scoring. Wednesday and Friday it was a scoreless eighth inning by Miller, then on Saturday he pitched the final two innings of the team's historic shutout of the Tigers, striking out three, for a total of four scoreless innings on the week.

Carlos Santana

Santana hit .280/.400/.480 in 30 plate appearances, with a wRC+ of 140. Santana had seven hits and five walks during the week. Among those walks was his 90th of the season, which made him the first player in franchise history to walk 90+ times in six consecutive seasons. He doubled and scored the first run on Sunday, and later pulled the Tribe back within a run with a home run.

Josh Tomlin

If you need a reminder about how unlikely things happen fairly frequently in baseball, which is why any team that makes the postseason has a shot at winning the World Series, Josh Tomlin made his first start in two weeks, and it was the best start by an Indians pitcher all week. Allowing only one run in five innings isn't spectacular, but if Tomlin can do that in Game 3 of the ALDS, the Tribe will have a good chance of winning.

The Winner

This is one of the weaker batches of candidates we've had this season. Guyer was great, but ten plate appearances is a pretty light caseload for Player of the Week. Santana was good in a larger sample of playing time, but he wasn't quite as impressive as he was the week before. (Santana was the biggest contributor on Sunday, but that gets somewhat overlooked because the team lost.) Tomlin made the team's best start, but a five inning outing from the rotation isn't especially special. I'm gonna go with Miller, because four shutout innings is a bit more impressive than allowing one run in five innings, and because choosing Miller also sort of honors all the guys who pitched in on Saturday's shutout.

Congratulations for the second time, Andrew!

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