Terry Francona said at the beginning of May that it was going to be a slow dig to get the Indians back to .500. They made some progress but it was a rollercoaster.
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Ups and downs
The Tribe got within two games of .500 twice, only to drop the next four and tie their low-water mark of six games under. While sweeping the Tigers was one of the highlights of the month, the Indians were swept by the Athletics, where they were outscored 30-6, and White Sox. In an American League race though where most of the teams are at or under .500, things aren’t as dire as they could be, but there are plenty of areas that need improvement.
Pitching: Kluber shines
Corey Kluber's 60 strikeouts in the month were the highlight but there were plenty of changes in the staff. Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer moved into the rotation in place of Carlos Carrasco (bullpen) and Danny Salazar (demoted). In May, Tomlin and Bauer combined to go 5-3 and helped bring some stability to the bottom of the rotation. Questions though remain with Justin Masterson continuing to struggle and Zach McAllister winless in his last six starts before going on the disabled list.
John Axford lost his closer spot as it has been handled by committee the past three weeks.
Offense: Nothing boring about BBC
The Indians hit .273 in May, which was a 41-point improvement over what they did the first month of the season. Besides the great month from Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall hit .373 (31of 83) in May and had the first five-hit game of his career in a May 14 win at Toronto. Michael Bourn started to warm up and hit .303 (30 of 99) in May.
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Defense: Still struggling
Errors continue to be a problem. They remain the worst-fielding team in the majors by a wide margin with 56 errors (Washington is in second with 47). At third base alone, the Tribe has made 17 errors (Chisenhall 8, Carlos Santana 6, Mike Aviles 3).
May to remember
Michael Brantley: If it wasn't for Edwin Encarnacion's 15 homers, Brantley might be considered for AL Player of the Month. Brantley had a hit in all but two of 27 games he played in May and batted .345 (38 of 110) with five home runs and 19 RBI. Brantley also had a walk-off homer in a May 19 win over the Tigers.
May to remember
Corey Kluber: In six starts, Kluber went 4-0 with a 2.09 ERA and the Indians went 5-1 in games that he started. He joined Yu Darvish as the only pitchers in the Majors in the last 10 seasons to record 60 or more strikeouts in a single month.
May to forget
Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana: Both were dropped down in the batting order before landing on the disabled list. Santana was 14 of 83 (.169) and Swisher was 16 of 76 (.211).
May to forget
Zach McAllister: Went 0-2 with a 10.67 ERA in four May starts before being placed on the disabled list with a lower back strain. In his last two starts, he gave up 12 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings and four home runs.