The Cleveland Indians ended a great season on an incredible run. They went 21-6 in the month of September, the best record in the Major Leagues. They ended the season in a fantastic 10 game winning streak. A few players stepped up big time to push the offense and help drive the team to victory after victory, and those players played above and beyond their season numbers to lead the Tribe to their first post season since 2007.
Asdrubal Cabrera has not been able to match his offensive success from 2011, and this season he failed to make the All-Star team for the first time since 2010. Although his season started off poorly, Cabrera came through when it counted and hit well for the Indians down the stretch. In the last month of the season, Cabrera turned up the power and drove the ball like he did in his breakout 2011 season. After the first five months of the season, Cabrera racked up only nine home runs, over the last 27 games, he hit five bombs to bring his season total up to 14. He also scored 14 runs and drove in 17, his highest total of any month of the season. Through all this, it was his last 11 games where he really earned his keep. Cabrera hit .293/.341/.366 with 12 hits over the last two weeks of the season.
The Indians brought Nick Swisher onto their roster to add power, on-base percentage, and leadership to this young team. The leadership came quickly, but the offense was down for much of the season. Even with his subpar bat, Swisher’s attitude was infections and kept the team up all season. Finally, when the Indians really needs players to step up at the plate, Swisher came through and hit the way the Indians expected him to hit. Over the last 28 games of the season, Swisher batted .284/.375/.568. He hit seven home runs in September, the most he hit in any month, to bring his season total to 22. He now has nine consecutive 20+ home run seasons for his career. He also had the most hits (26), RBI (17), and walks (15), that he had in any one month of the season. The Ohio State Alumni played like a leader when his team most needed him.
Michael Brantley may have been the largest contributor to the Indians offensive surge at the end of the season. He enjoyed an 11 game hitting streak during the month of September; the streak began with two hits against the Royals on September 16, and ended against the Twins on September 28. It included a spectacular run of four straight games with three hits. His batting average rose from .272 at the beginning of the streak to .288 by streaks end. Topping that off, over his last 14 days, Brantley batted an outstanding .400/.426/.578. He enjoyed an incredibly strong month of September with a batting line of .345/.364/.464. He also stole 3 bases and drove in 14 runs in 22 September games.
The best teams seem to have players that come through when they most need them, Brantley, Swisher, and Cabrera were those players for the Tribe. This September run will go down as one of the best and most exciting ends to a regular season in Indians history. No matter what, this Tribe team gave the fans exactly what they needed, an exciting team, an exciting season, and a trip to October.
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