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A look at Indians 2B Jason Kipnis' historic May; Series preview vs. Kansas City Royals

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 2, 2015
Kip

In June of 2013, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis had a terrific month, playing well enough to force his way onto the American League All-Star game. His May of 2015, though, was downright historic.

Kipnis ends May with a .429 batting average, an on-base percentage of .511, 51 hits, 22 extra-base hits, 30 runs scored and an OPS of 1.217. He was the most valuable player in all of baseball, as he led the league with a Wins Above Replacement of 3.1. Only Washington's Bryce Harper was close to that mark, with a 2.6.

"He had an unbelievable month," Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters in Seattle. "Now, I don't care about the month. I think he’s an unbelievable player. He does so man things to help us win. It’s been like that for a while now and he's been a force.”

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Indians score three in the 12th to beat Seattle Mariners 6-3

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 31, 2015

The Indians struggled to come up with a timely hit but did just enough in a 6-3 win against the Seattle Mariners Sunday afternoon.

The Indians (24-26) left 17 men on base, as numerous scoring opportunities went unfulfilled. In the eighth, though Jason Kipnis tied the game 3-3 with a sacrifice fly to left field that eventually led to extra innings.

In the 12th, in part thanks to some wildness from Mariners (24-26) relief pitcher Dominic Leone, the Indians broke through. With two outs and the bases loaded, Leone walked Michael Brantley to bring home the go-ahead run. David Murphy followed with a two-RBI single to right field to make it 6-3.

Zach McAllister (1-2) was credited with the win after ending the bottom of the 11th. Austin Adams earned the first save of his career. Leone dropped to 0-4 this season.

Danny Salazar started the game for the Indians, throwing 5 1/3 innings and allowing three runs while striking out five. The only Indians pitcher not to appear in the game was left-hander Marc Rzepczynski.

The Indians are off Monday before heading to Kansas City for a three-game series. Jason Kipnis went 2-for-5, which ends his hit total for the month of May at 51. Ryan Raburn hit his third home run of the season in the sixth inning off of Mariners starter J.A. Happ.

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Indians beat Mariners 4-3; Shaun Marcum better, Jerry Sands goes deep

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 31, 2015

Shaun Marcum was much better than his last time out and the offense did just enough in a 4-3 win against the Seattle Mariners Saturday night.

Marcum (2-0) was solid in his first start this season but was shelled against Texas in his last time out. Saturday night against the Mariners, he returned to his former form, allowing two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings and striking out five.

Marc Rzepczynski recorded an out and Zach McAllister and Nick Hagadone each threw an inning to get to Cody Allen (11), who notched a four-out save.

MORERyan Lewis: Defense, among the league’s worst, still Indians’ biggest defect

Nick Swisher gave the Indians (23-26) a 1-0 lead in the first with a sacrifice fly that scored Mike Aviles. In the second inning, Jerry Sands—who is with the team while Carlos Santana is on the paternity list—hit a two-run home run off of Mariners starter Roenis Elias (2-2) to extend that lead to 3-0.

Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano fired back with a two-run home run of his own in the bottom of the third.

MORE: Indians-Mariners box score

David Murphy, pinch hitting for Sands, singled home a run to right field in the sixth inning to make it 4-2. And, in the seventh, the Mariners (24-25) answered, this time with a single up the middle from Dustin Ackley to score Brad Miller.

From there, McAllister, Hagadone and Allen shut the door to score the win.

Jason Kipnis went 0-for-4, and is still on 49 hits during the month of May. He’ll have one more game, on Sunday, to reach 50.

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Indians' Trevor Bauer out-dueled in 2-1 loss to Seattle Mariners

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 30, 2015

Trevor Bauer had a quality start but Seattle Mariners starter Taijuan Walker was better, and the Indians’ offense mustered too little, too late in a 2-1 loss Friday night.

Bauer (4-2) threw seven innings, allowed two earned runs and struck out 10. He and Walker (2-5, eight innings, two hits, eight strikeouts) both threw five scoreless innings before the Mariners’ Seth Smith broke through with a two-run home run.

The Indians threatened against Mariners closer Fernando Rodney (14 saves) in the ninth. Jason Kipnis walked and with two outs, Ryan Raburn tripled to right field to make it 2-1. Michael Brantley, though, flew out to end the game.

The Indians fell to 22-26 and the Mariners improved to 24-24.

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Indians top Seattle Mariners 5-3; Corey Kluber strikes out 13, Brandon Moss hits home run No. 8

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 29, 2015

The Indians brought enough offense to support Corey Kluber—which hasn't often been the case this season—in a 5-3 win in the first game of a four-game set against the Seattle Mariners Thursday night.

Brandon Moss went 2-for-4, including a home run in the second inning, his eighth of the season. Jason Kipnis went 2-for-4 with two RBI.

MORE: Indians-Mariners box score

Kluber allowed three earned runs over seven innings. He gave up two home runs but also struck out 13 batters. He picked up the win and improved to 3-5 this season.

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Series preview for four-game set between Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 28, 2015

The Indians begin a seven-game road trip with a four-game set against the Seattle Mariners Thursday night. If you’re planning on pushing back the alarm clock and staying up for the games, here are some things to note.

The games Thursday, Friday and Saturday all begin at 10:10 p.m. Sunday’s game is at 4:10.

The Mariners enter the series 23-23 and in second place the American League West, behind only the scorching hot Houston Astros (30-18). The Indians drew a bit of good luck with the pitching matchups in that they’ll face every Mariners starting pitcher not named Felix Hernandez—“King Felix” threw a four-hit shutout to beat Tampa Bay 3-0 Wednesday night.

Both teams enter the series 7-3 in their last 10 games.

Corey Kluber (2-5, 3.49) takes the mound tonight against lefty James Paxton (3-2, 3.52). Friday night will feature a couple of under-25 pitches, as Trevor Bauer (4-1, 3.02) takes on Taijuan Walker (1-5, 7.33). Walker was almost unhittable in spring training but hasn’t translated that to the regular season. On Saturday, Shaun Marcum (1-0, 6.28) will get a chance to stabilize his position in the rotation against another left-hander, Roenis Elias (2-1, 2.56). And on Sunday, Danny Salazar (5-1, 3.50) will square off with a third left hander, J.A. Happ.

The Indians will go from facing one of the hottest hitters on the planet (Texas’ Prince Fielder) to another (Seattle’s Nelson Cruz). Cruz leads the American League with 18 home runs, is tied for the lead in RBI with 38 and is fourth in batting average at .341. If the MVP voting were to stop today, Cruz could be your winner.

Indians manager Terry Francona spent three days explaining how difficult it is to pitch to a guy as hot as Fielder was—it’ll be much of the same with Cruz.

The Mariners do have other dangerous hitters besides Cruz, you just wouldn’t know it looking at their leaderboards. One is second baseman Robinson Cano, the $240-million man who hasn’t had the 2015 he had hoped for to this point, as he’s hitting only .215 with one home run. The other is third baseman Kyle Seager, hitting .275 with nine home runs and 29 RBI.

The Indians will dodge one bullet with Hernandez (if the Cy Young voting were today, he’s your guy, as he leads the AL in wins with eight and is second in ERA at 1.91). How well they dodge Cruz might be the biggest key to the series.

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Indians 12, Rangers 3: Wednesday's One Last Thing on Michael Bourn's hot streak

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 28, 2015
Bourn

The Indians put together an eight-run inning and received a strong outing from Carlos Carrasco to cruise past the Texas Rangers 12-3 Wednesday at Progressive Field.

Carlos Santana, Nick Swisher and Lonnie Chisenhall all hit a home run. Chisenhall, Jason Kipnis and Michael Bourn all had three hits. Every Indians starter recored a hit and scored a run.

And starter Carlos Carrasco allowed one run in eight innings while striking out eight.

Wednesday’s One Last Thing: Michael Bourn is quietly heating up outside of the leadoff spot.



A while back, it was written that Bourn wasn’t getting hits but he was hitting the ball hard. Several analytic numbers pointed to the fact that Bourn was still making hard contact, it just wasn’t translating into him getting on base as much as it should.

Now, the hits are coming.

Bourn went 3-for-5 with two RBI Wednesday. He was hitting .180 before being moved down the lineup and is now hitting .300 since Indians manager Terry Francona made the change. Bourn is also hitting .360 in his past 16 games.

“Wherever Tito lines the lineup at, man, I just play,” Bourn said. “You don't make the lineup. You just go out there and play. So, whatever combination he thinks works for us, then I'm going to go out there and play baseball.”

MORE: Indians players, coaches shave their heads for Mike Aviles' daughter, who has leukemia

Of course, the switch has also coincided with Kipnis’ torrid May, so both hitters have taken off since that point in late April in Detroit.

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Eight-run third inning gives Indians 12-3 rout of Texas Rangers Wednesday

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 27, 2015

The Indians batted around and then some in the third inning and used it to cruise to a 12-3 win against the Texas Rangers Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field.

The Indians had seven hits, including two doubles and a three-run home run by Carlos Santana, in that third inning to take a 10-0 lead off of Rangers starter Colby Lewis (4-3).

In the second inning, Nick Swisher hit his second home run of the season and first at Progressive Field. Lonnie Chisenhall added a home run of his own in the fifth inning.

All nine Indians starters recorded a hit and scored a run Wednesday. Santana and Chisenhall each ended the day with a home run and three RBI.

Pitching with a double-digit lead for most of the day, Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (6-4) threw eight innings, allowed one earned run and struck out eight.

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Indians players, coaches shave their heads for Mike Aviles’ daughter Adriana, who has leukemia

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 27, 2015
Reds Indians Baseball_Kada

Over the last couple of days, more and more players and coaches have been walking around the Indians’ clubhouse with a shaved head. It started with Jason Kipnis, Nick Swisher and a few others. Now, everyone has joined in.

It’s for Mike Aviles’ 4-year-old daughter, Adriana, who was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this month. Aviles was away from the team for a week and a half as he spent time with his family after learning the news.

Adriana will be starting chemo-therapy soon, which means she’ll be losing her hair. To show their support, Aviles’ teammates are cutting it all away. .

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Rangers 4, Indians 3: Tuesday's One Last Thing on shaved heads for Mike Aviles' daughter

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 27, 2015

The Indians gave up two big home runs and couldn’t take advantage of their own opportunities in a 4-3 loss to the Texas Rangers Tuesday night.

Prince Fielder hit a 441-foot, three-run home run off of Danny Salazar in the fifth to tie it 3-3. Mitch Moreland than hit a solo home run in the eighth off of Nick Hagadone for the go-ahead run.

But tonight, it’s not all about baseball.

Tuesday’s One Last Thing: The Indians have banded together for a 4-year-old girl with leukemia.

Over the last couple days, more and more players have been walking around the Indians’ clubhouse with a shaved head. It started with Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher. Then it was Jose Ramirez. Now several guys, probably close to the entire team, have a shaved head or at least a low buzzcut.

The reason for it was known and pretty obvious, but players hadn’t yet wanted to speak about it and reporters were respectful of that, not pushing it.

MORE: Indians manager Terry Francona offers a solution for substances used on baseballs

Tuesday night, Kipnis became the first to speak on it and confirmed that it was for Mike Aviles’ 4-year-old daughter Adriana, who was diagnosed with leukemia recently. Aviles missed a week and a half as he spent time with his family after learning the news.

Adrianna will be starting chemo soon, which means she’ll be losing her hair. To show their support, Aviles’ teammates are doing the same.

“Yeah, kind of a team thing,” Kipnis said. “It started kind of with Mike Aviles’ daughter, for her, what she's going through. She’s going to, unfortunately, be losing her hair soon here to chemo and so we all kind of wanted to join in and it started with a couple and then spread throughout the whole clubhouse. … It wasn’t all in one day, just periodically, more guys were getting in on it and going through that.”

Aviles has chosen not to speak with reporters about it. But to his teammates, having him back in the clubhouse has been a positive influence.

“Having Mikey back, he’s one of the best clubhouse guys there is probably in this entire league,” Kipnis said. “He’s a great person, a great teammate and I think all the other guys have done a good job of stepping up to kind of make him feel welcomed and back at home and like nothing’s changed. And I think there’s been numerous guys that have told him that if he needs anything at any time that they’re there for him. So I think this is a good distraction for him when it can be, baseball.”

Aviles has played well and is hitting 7-of-19 since returning.

“Yea and on top of that, you gotta tip the cap to the guy to still be able to come to the field and produce and be playing well because he’s definitely been contributing.”

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