For the second time this month, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been named American League Player of the Week.
For the seven-day period ending Sunday, Kipnis batted .478 with four doubles, three home runs, 10 RBI and nine runs. His .606 on-base percentage led the league, and he tied for first in RBI and doubles.
Kipnis has an ongoing 12-game hitting streak and has reached base in each of the past 32 games.
Kipnis and his teammate, starter Corey Kluber, won co-MVP honors for the week ending June 17. In May, both Ryan Raburn and Justin Masterson won AL Player of the Week awards.
Inasmuch as Kipnis has won two AL Player of the Week awards in June, he is a strong candidate to win AL Player of the Month. Kipnis batted .419 in June with a 1.216 OPS.
Cleaning up at cleanup
It’s a ridiculously small sample, but the available evidence is that when Ryan Raburn bats in the cleanup spot for the Indians, he makes things happen.
Raburn spent his third game of the season batting fourth Sunday and doubled home the Tribe’s first run against Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale.
“I don’t know if that [batting cleanup] has anything to do with it,” Raburn said. “I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team and happened to get a big hit.”
Sale is one of American League’s best starters, but has gotten lost in his team’s mediocre season. His ERA is a sparkling 2.79, but he has a 5-7 record.
“His off-speed pitches were great,” Raburn said. “But as hard as he throws , you can’t sit on his off-speed pitches.”
In 10 at-bats in the cleanup spot, Raburn is batting .300 with a .417 on-percentage and two RBI. All three of his hits have gone for extra bases, two doubles and a home run.
Raburn doesn’t put much stock in the Tribe’s current place in the standings, which is a half-game ahead of the second-place Detroit Tigers in the American League Central Division.
“I look at the stats to see what guys I played with [in Detroit] are doing,” he said. “But I don’t pay attention to the standings. Hopefully, we’ll have meaningful games in September. That’s what you play for.”
On the run
Drew Stubbs might be the fastest player on the Indians’ roster, but he seldom tries to bunt for a hit.
He did on Sunday and beat it out for his second bunt single of the year (he’s 2-for-2), starting a rally.
“I hope to see more of that,” manager Terry Francona said.
Stubbs said conditions have to be right for him to bunt.
“There are a lot of scouting reports out there,” he said. “People know I can run, that I have that weapon.”
Consequently, third basemen often play even with the bag or even closer to the plate, taking away the bunt.
“If they’re playing it tight and I don’t get the good bunt down, I’m mad at myself,” Stubbs said. “But when they play close, it opens up a hole for me.”
The Indians will be looking for their fifth road win in a row tonight in Kansas City, which would be extend their season high. … They are 31-15 when the starter goes six innings or more. … In his past four starts against the White Sox, Justin Masterson is 2-0 with an 0.87 ERA and two shutouts. … Yan Gomes started two games over the weekend in Chicago and was 6-for-9 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs.
Cody Anderson gave up one run, four hits and struck out six, as Carolina defeated Salem 5-3 in Class A. Francisco Lindor had two hits, and Tyler Naquin doubled and drove in a run. … Bryan Rodriguez (1-3, 2.87 ERA) gave up one run and four hits in five innings in Lake County’s 1-0 win over Fort Wayne in Class A. … Joel Mejia tripled, singled twice and drove in three runs, as the Arizona Indians lost to the Cubs 6-4. Clint Frazier had two hits and one RBI.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.