The Indians were the very definition of average in the first half, going 47-47 and finding themselves in 3rd place. Of course, that doesn't mean they haven't been without their ups and downs, their highlights and their lowlights. Danny Salazar had to be demoted, Justin Masterson has been an injured mess, the defense has been awful, et cetera, et cetera. Today though, I want to shine a light on some of what's been good. Specifically, I'm going to count down the very best games by Tribe hitters during the first half. Today, part one, numbers 10 through 6:
10) Nick Swisher (June 19, 5-3 win vs. Angels): 1 for 5, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI, .660 WPA
Swisher was 0 for 4 for three strikeouts through the first nine innings of the game, making it one of the worst games by a Tribe hitter this season, but then he came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th, but the Indians down two runs, and this happened:
9) Asdrubal Cabrera (May 8, 9-4 win vs. Twins) - 4 for 5, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, .135 WPA
Cabrera homered in the 2nd to put the Tribe ahead 2-0, an later singled and added a pair of RBI doubles. Here's the home run:
8) Michael Bourn (June 25, 6-1 win vs. Diamondbacks) - 3 for 4, 1 BB, 2 3B, 2 R, .181 WPA
Bourn tripled in each of his first two plate appearances, becoming the first Indian to do that since Dale Mitchell all the way back on August 17, 1949. Bourn later added a walk and a single for good measure.
7) Michael Brantley (May 19, 5-4 win vs. Tigers) - 2 for 4, 1 BB, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, .451 WPA
Brantley doubled, drew a walk, and was hit by a pitch in the first nine innings of this one, so it has been a solid enough game already. With two outs in the 10th inning though, Brantley made this one something special:
6) Michael Brantley (May 21, 11-10 vs. Tigers) - 4 for 7, 1 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 SB, .580 WPA
Two days later, Brantley was even a bit better, I think. There was no singular Brantley singled in two runs, stole a base, and scored in the 2nd; doubled in the 6th, singled, stole another base, and scored another run in the 9th, and then tied the game with another single in the 10th, setting the stage for a walk-off balk.
I'll wrap up the countdown on Friday. In the meantime, feel free to speculate on what games will make up the top five, and/or to talk about how awesome these five were.