Month in review: May

GomesWalkOffIt is June 4 and the Indians have lost 10 of their past 14 games. All-Stars Chris Perez (right shoulder) and Asdrubal Cabrera (right quad) are sidelined with injuries. The upcoming schedule includes a string of games against some of the league’s top teams.

There are four months to go, but this feels like a critical stretch for Cleveland.

That is what made May so important. The Indians pieced together an 18-win month in which the offense continued to produce at a solid rate and the starting pitching did its part to help rack up some victories. The Tribe pulled itself out of the division basement and tasted first place, even while battling through some uncharacteristic bullpen woes.

Indians fans are no strangers to hot starts. There was the 30-15 opening to the 2011 season and the run to first place last May. In both cases, the Tribe’s lack of depth was eventually exposed by injuries and players producing above their career norms regressed to reality. Well, the players believe this team — with more versatility and depth built into the roster — can overcome the current obstacles, and others to come.

May was a look into this team’s ability when it’s clicking on all cylinders.

Let’s take a look at the month that was.

Record: 18-12
Home: 14-5
Road: 4-7

AL Central standings as of June 4:

1. Tigers 30-25 (–)
2. Indians 30-27 (1)
3. Twins 25-29 (4.5)
4. White Sox 24-31 (6)
5. Royals 23-31 (6.5)

Offense (AL rank)

.256 average (8)
.323 on-base (8)
.420 slugging (7)
.743 OPS (8)
146 runs (3)
259 hits (7)
63 doubles (4)
5 triples (6)
31 home runs (t-7)
140 RBI (3)
95 walks (7)
256 strikeouts (t-13)
26 stolen bases (1)
99 extra-base hits (t-3)
425 total bases (t-6)

Pitching (AL rank)

18 wins (t-1)
4.40 ERA (10)
3.70 rot. ERA (2)
5.75 bullpen ERA (15)
5 saves (10)
267.2 innings (1)
261 hits (11)
136 runs (10)
131 earned runs (11)
33 home runs (8)
106 walks (13)
280 strikeouts (t-1)
.255 average (8)
1.37 WHIP (9)

NOTES: Cleveland’s 18 wins were the most for May since 2007, when the team went 19-11 in the season’s second month. The Indians have reached at least 18 wins in a month 11 times since 2000 — most recently in April 2011. … The Tribe’s pitching staff set a single-month franchise record with 280 strikeouts. The previous mark of 264 was set in July 1964 and matched in August 1967. … The Indians’ 99 extra-base hits were the most in one month by the team since July 2008. … Cleveland’s 146 runs were the most in a single month since May 2009. This marked only the second time (also in May 2012) since 2000 that the Indians had at least 26 stolen bases in a single calendar month.

Player of the month: 2B Jason Kipnis
Stats: .261/.331/.550/.880, 7 HR, 7 2B, 2 3B, 22 RBI, 29 H, 21 R, 5 SB, 12 BB, 28 games

Notes: Kipnis became the 1st Indians hitter since August 2006 (Travis Hafner) to have at least seven home runs, 16 extra-base hits, 20 runs, 20 RBIs and an .880 OPS in a single month. No Tribe second baseman has had that line in a single month since Roberto Alomar in July 1999.

Previous 2013 winners: C Carlos Santana (co-winner, April), INF Mark Reynolds (co-winner, April)

Pitcher of the month: RHP Justin Masterson
Stats: 4-1, 3.02 ERA, 41.2 IP, 44 K, 14 BB, 1.03 WHIP, .196 average, six starts

Notes: Masterson became the 1st Indians pitcher since September 2005 (CC Sabathia) to enjoy a month with at least four wins, 41.2 innings, 44 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.02 or lower. Prior to Sabathia in ’05, the previous pitcher to have a month like that for the Tribe was Bert Blyleven in September 1984.

Previous 2013 winners: Masterson (April)

Reliever of the month: RHP Cody Allen
Stats: 1.98 ERA, 13.2 IP, 1 save, 18 K, 2 BB, 0.51 WHIP, .116 average, 14 games

Notes: Allen became just the third Indians pitcher to pile up at least 18 strikeouts with no more than two walks in under 14 innings in a single month. The others are Bob Wickman (May 2001) and Sean DePaula (September 1999).

Previous 2013 winners: RHP Joe Smith (April)

Game of the month (hitter): C Yan Gomes, May 20
Stat line: 3-for-5 with 2 homers (including 3-run walk-off) and 4 RBIs in 10-8 win over Seattle

Game of the month (pitcher): Masterson, May 13
Stat line: 9 IP, 4 hits, 0 runs, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts in 1-0 win over Yankees in Game 1 of doubleheader

—————————————————————

Minor League standouts for April

Triple-A Columbus

Player of the Month: INF Cord Phelps
Stats: .269/.342/.528/.869, 7 HR, 7 2B, 24 RBI, 29 H, 14 R, 26 games

Previous 2013 winners: OF Jeremy Hermida (April)

Pitcher of the Month: RHP Carlos Carrasco
Stats: 2-0, 1.73 ERA, 26 IP, 29 K, 8 BB, 1.12 WHIP, .216 AVG, 5 starts

Previous 2013 winners: RHP Preston Guilmet (April)

Double-A Akron

Player of the Month: C Roberto Perez
Stats: .293/.506/.397/.903, 1 HR, 3 2B, 6 RBI, 17 H, 23 BB, 21 games

Previous 2013 winners: 1B/DH Chun Chen (April)

Pitcher of the Month: RHP Jose Flores
Stats: 3-1, 1.84 ERA, 4 saves, 14.2 IP, 21 K, 3 BB, 1.02 WHIP, .222, 12 games

Previous 2013 winners: LHP T.J. House (April)

Class A (high) Carolina

Player of the Month: OF Luigi Rodriguez
Stats: .307/.392/.443/.835, 10 2B, 1 3B, 10 RBI, 12 R, 13 BB, 27 H, 25 games

Previous 2013 winners: SS Francisco Lindor (April)

Pitcher of the Month: RHP Cody Anderson
Stats: 2-2, 2.67 ERA, 30.1 IP, 34 K, 4 BB, 1.15 WHIP, .265 AVG, five starts

Previous 2013 winners: Anderson (April)

Class A (low) Lake County

Player of the Month: OF LeVon Washington
Stats: .295/.427/.443/.869, 7 2B, 1 3B, 7 RBI, 8 SB, 14 BB, 18 H, 17 games

Previous 2013 winners: OF Logan Vick (April)

Pitcher of the Month: LHP Ryan Merritt
Stats: 2-2, 2.32 ERA, 31 IP, 23 K, 9 BB, 1.03 WHIP, .209 AVG, five starts

Previous 2013 winners: RHP Michael Peoples (April)

–JB

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