Cleveland Indians pinch hitter Lonnie Chisenhall (8) is congratulated by Nick Swisher (33) after hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Indians defeated the Orioles 8-7 in thirteen innings.
Last Monday the Indians were coming off their worst week of the year and were going into a series against the hottest team in baseball. A week later, prospects have improved after the Tribe had their best seven-day stretch of the season.
The Indians cooled off the Tigers with their first three-game sweep of the season and split a four-game series at Baltimore. With a 5-2 week, they have climbed within three games of the .500 mark and have drawn within 6 1/2 games of the Tigers. In the Central, there is only a one-game margin separating Royals, Twins, White Sox and Indians.
"We took enormous steps this week to getting that personality and chemistry," Terry Francona said after the Detroit series.
Added Jason Kipnis on Saturday: "That Detroit series did a lot of good for our team. I think it snapped a lot of guys out of their funks and we’re playing better baseball now."
The key now is maintaining that consistency. The Indians began May by going 7-3 and then lost five of their next six.
Here are some more notes from the past week:
Nick Swisher, who is one of the nominees for this year’s Bob Feller Act of Valor Award, did a promotional video for Phillips Norelco last week as he cut his hair into a "high and tight" military style. It was part of the company’s donation of $25,000 to Operation Homefront, which provides financial assistance, food and home repairs to families in the U.S. military. One of the best lines from the video is "It feels just like I’m mowing the lawn back in the day,"
The 13-inning wins over the Tigers on Wednesday and Orioles on Thursday marked only the second time since 1912 that the Indians have won consecutive games that went 13 innings or more. According to STATS LLC, it happened in 1935 when the Indians won at the St. Louis Browns 2-1 on April 16 and then beat Detroit 2-1 four days later.
Offense Bounces Back
Over the past seven games, the Indians have scored 31 runs in 40 2/3 innings off starting pitchers while batting .319 (52 of 163) with 17 extra-base hits.
The series against Baltimore began a stretch where Cleveland plays 17 of 23 on the road. The Indians are 9-16 away from Progressive Field, which is the second-lowest mark in the American League (Houston is 9-17). After losing 11 of its first 15 on the road though the Indians have gone 5-5 in their last 10.
Lonnie Chisenhall Went 11 for 25 with two home runs and six RBI. His .440 average the past seven days is fourth-best in the AL.
Michael Bourn: Batted .424 last week (14 of 33) with three doubles and a pair of stolen bases. The batting average was seventh-highest in the AL.
Corey Kluber: Made a pair of starts last week and had 17 strikeouts in 14 innings. For the season he is averaging 10.28 strikeouts per nine innings.
David Murphy: Went 4 of 26 but did have a pair of home runs and six RBI. .
Mike Aviles: Went 6 for 34 but drove in five runs.
Cleveland at Chicago
First pitch: 2:10 p.m. Monday; 8:10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
Probables: Monday — RH Josh Tomlin (3-1, 2.91) vs. LH Jose Quintana (2-4, 3.67); Tuesday — RH Justin Masterson (2-3, 5.32) vs. LH Chris Sale (4-0, 1.89); Wednesday — LH T.J. House (0-1, 6.43) vs. RH Hector Noesi (0-3, 6.82)
Season series: White Sox lead 4-3 and have a 3-1 edge in games at U.S. Cellular Field.
Of note: Michael Brantley has an 11-game hitting streak, which is tied with Detroit’s Ian Kinsler for the longest active streak in the majors. … The Indians are 14-9 in division play, winning six straight and 10 of their last 12. … White Sox starting pitchers have a 2.84 ERA (12 earned runs in 38 1/3 innings) with 36 strikeouts and a .196 average in the last seven games. … Third baseman Conor Gillaspie has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games (.372, 16 of 43) and 28 of 31 this season.
Of note: Indians are 2-4 in interleague play this season but 2-1 at home. The Rockies are 45- in interleague … Colorado owns a 10-8 advantage in the series but the Indians are 6-3 in games at Progressive Field.