In July, the Indians posted a losing record (11-15) for the second straight month. Having fallen off of their feverish early-season pace, they screeched into the All-Star Break at 47-42 before watching Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Perez suit up for the Midsummer Classic.
July was a turning point for the Indians, as their struggles from June carried over as the second half of the season progressed. The exhaustion of not missing a game until July 10 seemed to take a toll on Cabrera. Grady Sizemore looked to be returning to more of his usual self (.911 OPS, .283 batting average), but the injury bug struck again and he was out until September. Travis Hafner did not maintain his early-season form; his only Pronk-esque moment was a walk-off grand slam against the Blue Jays, July 7.
We would also get our first look at Jason Kipnis, who would take a few games to warm up to the majors but ultimately provided a spark in the lineup and showed some great glovework, only to himself get injured in August.
Offensive MVP: Michael Brantley would have earned a month MVP title earlier on in the year if not for Cabrera, but he finally gets the nod for July. Brantley may be one of the most underrated players on this club. He’s a solid outfielder with good range, and he can be effective on the basepaths. Though his plate discipline had been better earlier on in the season, Brantley seemed to be the only steady bat in the lineup in July.
Most wins: Masterson (3-1, 7 GS)
Best FIP: Masterson (0.86)
Masterson was finally able to record his first win since April 26th, a span of 11 starts and 72.2 innings. He logged more than six innings six times, and went eight or more three times. David Huff was also thrown into the mix and was absolutely brilliant in two spot starts for the Indians: he pitched 12.2 innings, giving up 10 hits and just one earned run with nine strikeouts against just two walks. Unfortunately, Huff was only able to pick up the win in just one of his outings.
Lowest ERA: Joe Smith (1.23 ERA)
Best WHIP: Smith (0.75 WHIP)
Best K/9 Rate: Vinnie Pestano (15.43)
Strikeouts/Walks Ratio: Pestano (8.0)
Pestano continued to be a force out of the bullpen even though his ERA inflated in July. Smith emerged as another go-to guy in the bullpen, but there wasn’t much of a need for a bridge to Chris Perez because there would not be much need for a closer. He appeared in just seven games, only four of them save opportunities (he converted three). Perez’ July blown save was just his second of the year, which shows just how effective Perez was at preserving the leads he was given.