The month of May started off strong with a sweep of the Detroit Tigers. However, May was a month of inconsistency for the Indians’ offense.
A month that saw them break out for 12 and 19 runs also saw them get shut out three times. They also failed to score more than three runs 12 times and went just 2-10 in those games. As a team, they batted just .248 a month after batting .272 and thundering out to a 18-8 record.
Some of the decline in the team’s offensive numbers can be attributed to Travis Hafner missing time; combine his absence with Grady Sizemore playing in just 11 games and Shin-Soo Choo‘s yearlong offensive struggles and three key bats the Indians had intended to rely on were virtually non-existent in May. Orlando Cabrera‘s average would also drop significantly to .258 after starting out hitting .283 in 25 games.
But Michael Brantley continued his hot start in May. After batting .297 in April, he followed it up by hitting .278 while driving in 14 runs and scoring 16 more. He also clubbed three homers and swiped four bases. In the first two months of a season where Hafner and the guy you will read about next garnered all of the attention, Brantley’s play early on also made him a viable candidate for the club’s MVP of the month. Still, the Indians were able to post a 14-12 record, including a sweep in the Battle of Ohio against Cincinnati.
Record – 14-12
Offensive MVP: As good as Asdrubal Cabrera was in April, he was even better in May, and provided some consistency to a rather inconsistent Indians lineup. After hitting .262 to start off the season, he exploded in April, hitting .330 while driving in 19 runs and scoring 18 more. He also slugged five more homers, bringing his season total to 10 and saw his OPS rise from .791 to .868.
May was also the month where we saw Asdrubal have a career game: on May 22, he became the first Indians player to record five hits in a game since Jhonny Peralta did it on August 6, 2008. His 5-for-5 performance included two homers, five RBI’s and two runs scored. Cabrera was healthy, and it showed. Throughout much of the month led all American League shortstops in home runs, hits, runs and RBIs. He also hit safely in 21 of 26 May contests.
Lowest ERA: Josh Tomlin (3.03)
Most Wins Recorded: Carlos Carrasco (3-1)
Best FIP: Fausto Carmona (0.95)
Lowest ERA: Tony Sipp (0.87)
Best WHIP: Tony Sipp (0.495)
Best K/9 rate: Vinnie Pestano (13.3 )
Strikeouts/Walks Radio: Chad Durbin (6.0)
Justin Masterson‘s winless May was not a direct result of his pitching, but a lack of run support behind him. In two of Masterson’s three charged losses in the month of May, the Indians were shut out. In his other four starts, the Indians averaged only three runs.
Tomlin emerged as a viable option in the rotation. Despite his tendency to give up the long ball, he posted a 0.89 WHIP in May. Fausto Carmona struggled, going just 1-3 in six starts while amassing a 5.45 ERA, while youngster Carlos Carrasco showed reasons why he was the centerpiece in the Cliff Lee trade. The bullpen was stellar, with Tony Sipp posting a miniscule 0.87 ERA and an outstanding .0495 WHIP, providing a solid option to bridge the gap between the starters and Chirs Perez. Speaking of Perez, he went eight-of-eight in save opportunities.