“What a month.”
In fact, in the entire 111-year history of this Cleveland Indians franchise, no team had enjoyed an April like the one this band of Tribesmen just turned in.
The Indians wrapped up April with an 18-8 record — just like we all predicted they would, right? The previous club mark for April wins was 16.
“To me, you remember the teams of the ’90s and all the success here,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “And in 111 years, this is the first time this club wins 17, now 18, games in April. To me, it’s pretty amazing.
“I told my coaching staff [Friday] night, ‘No one can take that from us as a team.’ It’s amazing if you look back at the great ballclubs that have been in Cleveland for 100 years. It’s historic.
“We’re always going to cherish that. The season’s not over, but what a month.”
On top of that, the Tribe entered May with the best mark in the American League and the team was tied with the Phillies for the best record in baseball. Cleveland’s 12-2 ledger in front of the local fans? Best in the business. The team’s attendance ranks last, but that has not affected the performance so far.
Here’s a glance at the past month as we head into May…
141 runs – 1st in the AL
242 hits – 3rd in the AL
34 homers – 3rd in the AL
381 total bases – 2nd in the AL
135 RBIs – tied-1st in the AL
.272 average – 1st in the AL
.294 average at home – 1st in AL
.344 on-base – 1st in the AL
.447 slugging – 3rd in the AL
.791 OPS – 3rd in the AL
86 extra-base hits – tied-3rd in the AL
100 runs with RISP – 2nd in the AL
.322 average with RISP – 2nd in the AL
.313 average vs. LHP – 1st in the AL
18 wins – 1st in the AL
3.49 ERA – 4th in the AL
18 quality starts – 2nd in the AL
80 walks – tied-4th in the AL
.237 average against – 2nd in the AL
316 total bases allowed – 3rd in the AL
16 homers allowed – 2nd in the AL
1.24 WHIP – tied-3rd in the AL
3.79 pitches/PA – 3rd in the AL
3.71 starters ERA – 4th in the AL
3.04 bullpen ERA – 5th in the AL
13 wins by starters – tied-2nd in the AL
.211 bullpen avg against – tied-4th in the AL
3 unearned runs – 1st in the AL
13 errors – tied-3rd in the AL
.987 fielding percentage – 4th in the AL
Record at home: 12-2
Record on the road: 6-6
8-game winning streak (April 3-11)
12-game home winning streak (April 3-30)
Bastian’s April Awards:
Player of the Month: Asdrubal Cabrera
Comment: Cabrera hit .262 with five homers and 17 RBIs, mixing in four doubles and a triple while playing strong defense. When Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana were slumping hard early, Cabrera provided some much-needed pop out of the lineup’s second spot. He also has formed a solid combo up the middle with second baseman Orlando Cabrera.
Pitcher of the Month: Justin Masterson & Josh Tomlin
Comment: Hard to give the nod to one over the other. Masterson went 5-0 with a .218 ERA, striking out 22 and walking 11 over 33 innings. Tomlin went 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA, striking out 18 and walking eight over 33 innings. Masterson has looked unhittable at times. Tomlin has been downright baffling. With Fausto Carmona’s inconsistency early on, and injuries to Mitch Talbot and Carlos Carrasco, Masterson and Tomlin have been integral in the Tribe’s April success.
Comeback Player of the Month: Grady Sizemore
Comment: I couldn’t make him my Player of the Month with only 11 games played, but Sizemore certainly has a case: .378 with four homers, a team-high eight doubles and nine RBIs. His swing has looked smooth, his power has been impressive and he hasn’t looked like he’s missed a step on the bases or in center field. No stolen bases yet, but those will come (Grady actually did swipe one, but a missed call turned it into a caught stealing).
Biggest surprise: Jack Hannahan
Comment: We all knew he could man the hot corner and he has done so fantastically with highlight-reel plays seemingly on a daily basis. What we didn’t expect was him to hit this well. Hannahan entered May hitting .273 with four homers, four doubles and 14 RBIs for the Indians. He’s played so well that the Indians opted to option Jason Donald to Triple-A Columbus when he got healthy. Hannahan has been solid on the field and in strengthing the lower third of the lineup.
Rookie of the Month: Vinnie Pestano
Comment: OK, so he wins this award by default by being the lone rookie on the roster. Yeah, I know Alex White is a rookie as well, but he’s only made one start. I declare him ineligible for this honor. Besides, Pestano has a 0.82 ERA over 11 innings in 12 games. The righty has 13 strikeouts and only four walks and five hits allowed. He has not looked like a rookie at all out there and that’s been a big boost for the back end of the bullpen.
Plays of the Month:
Hard to pick only one, so here are four…
1. April 29: The Slam — Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, one out, tie game. Could it have been set up any better? Carlos Santana works into a good hitter’s count and makes the Tigers pay with a bullet into the right-field seats for a walk-off grand slam. Watching the highlight hasn’t gotten old, especially seeing Santana toss the helmet and do his stutter-step while smiling wide as he runs into the mob at home plate.
2. April 7: The Squeeze — In the bottom of the eighth inning against the Red Sox, Asdrubal Cabrera layed down a perfect squeeze bunt down the third-base line with one out. Adam Everett scored and the Indians beat Boston, 1-0. It was an early sign that this Cleveland squad will go small if that’s what it takes to win.
3. April 3: The Triple Play — The White Sox had pounded the Indians relentlessly in the season’s first two games. In the fourth inning of the third game of the year, Alexei Ramirez attempted a bunt. He popped it up and Santana, playing first for the first time in his big league career, dove head-first to catch it for an out. A quick to toss to first base, and another to second and the Indians had a triple play. They went on to win, 7-1, for the first ‘W’ in an 8-game streak.
4. April 17: The Return — In his second at-bat back with the Indians, after a long rehab from microfracture surgery on his left knee, Sizemore launces a home run into the right-field stands. The Indians win in his first game back, 7-6, over the Orioles. Sizemore then goes on an offensive tear to help bring some more energy to an already-hot Tribe team.
Quote of the Month:
“It seems like nobody else wants this division, so we’re going to take it. Why not, right?”