September saw the Indians’ goal shift from making the playoffs to finishing above .500. If you had asked anyone at the beginning of the season if they would have taken an 80-82 record I’m sure they would have been happy about it, but it felt sour because that they had started with such a bang and ended on such a thud.
The offense seemed to hit rock bottom in September. With Asdrubal Cabrera falling way off his scorching pace he set at the beginning of the year, Jason Kipnis coming back down to earth, Travis Hafner being relegated to 12 games and Grady Sizemore being shelved yet again, there wasn’t much going right in the run scoring department. Jim Thome put up some good numbers while he was in the lineup, but he isn’t the hitter he used to be, nor was he a consistent presence in the lineup. In all, it was a truimphant run for the Indians in 2011 that came up just a tad short of .500 for the year.
Offensive MVP: This was a tough one to decide in the final month. In my heart I wanted to say Thome, who hit .333 with a .934 OPS, but the final month’s MVP honors go to Lonnie Chisenhall.
Lowest ERA: Jeanmar Gomez (4.40)
Most Wins Recorded: Gomez (4-1, 5 GS)
Best FIP: Gomez (.73)
From April to September, the best ERA ballooned from 2.18 to 4.40. Gomez was by no means the best pitcher on this club, but he pitched the best in September. His numbers are a bit distorted due to his giving up 8 earned in his first start of the month, but not including that outing he posted a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings pitched, giving up six earned runs and striking out more batters than he walked (11 to 7).
Lowest ERA: Vinnie Pestano (1.93)
Best WHIP: Nick Hagadone (0.91)
Best K/9 Rate: Pestano (13.5)
Best K/BB Ratio: Zach Putnam (9/0)
You won’t find anything surprising here. The bullpen continued to do things that it had done all year. September callups Hagadone and Putnam held their own in their first tastes of big league action. Pestano continued to be a fireballer out of the pen, and has even thrown himself into talk of being the closer should something happen to Chris Perez. Speaking of Perez, he went 6-of-6 in save opportunities en route to recording the most saves in a season in his career.