Jun 15, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher (33) runs the bases after hitting a go ahead home run against the Boston Red Sox in the eleventh inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Swish and Brantley Help Tribe Split Series, Road Trip

Homers in First and Last Inning Key Indians Victory

In a season full of ups and downs, the Indians have again made it back to the .500 mark.  Thanks to some extra-inning heroics by Nick Swisher, the Indians were able to even out their record during their series with Boston and on their road trip overall.  Michael Brantley and Nick Swisher both hit solo home runs, and Yan Gomes helped the Tribe scratch out another run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly.  It was the second consecutive day the Indians were trailing Boston 2-1 in the seventh inning and came back to win.

The Positives

Michael Brantley reached base three times and went 2-for-4 with a homer.  He’s now tied with Alex Rios for fourth in the batting title race (they both are hitting .322).  Nick Swisher was finally able to contribute, and he did it in a big way.  Carlos Santana went 3-for-5 and has bumped his batting average up to .190.  He’s looking like he may be finally breaking out of his agonizing slump for good.  Cody Allen was a monster, going two perfect innings and striking out three.  Big thanks to Brian Heise for dropping him in our fantasy league so I could pick him up.  And of course, credit goes to the rest of the bullpen as well for another solid performance.

The Negatives

Corey Kluber had another shaky outing.  I’m not worried yet, but it’d really help the Indians out if he were to revert to the Corey Kluber we saw in May.  Lonnie Chisenhall extended his hitless streak to ten at-bats.  This worries me not because of the mini-slump, but because in his final at-bat he was chasing pitches way out of the strike zone.  It’s also concerning that he’s not had a hit since being rested against Jon Lester.  John Axford, of course, continues to completely crumble in pressure situations.  His signing looks to have been a huge overpay.

Check It Out

-Former Indian Scott Kazmir is posting a dazzling 2.05 ERA so far this year.  He’s on a 2-year, $22 million contract with the A’s that looks like a steal in its early stages.

-Speaking of stellar contracts, David Murphy is getting paid $5 million this year, and he’s on pace to give the Indians a full win above replacement level.

-Terry Francona pulled Lonnie Chisenhall for a pinch-hitter late in the game.  I am not a fan of that move.

-Axford has a BB/9 ratio of 6.59, which is absolutely gross but still slightly improved from his early-season numbers.

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Tags: Cleveland Indians Michael Brantley Nick Swisher

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