I'm going to bury the lead for a minute and talk about a few players you may have overlooked during Monday night's romp in Arlington, as you may have been distracted by one player in particular:
- Michael Brantley reached base safely all 5 times he came to the plate, with 3 hits and a 2 walks. He also tied a franchise record by scoring 5 runs (the last player to do that for the Indians was Joe Carter in 1986).
- Jason Kipnis had his best game of the season, with 3 hits, 3 runs scored, 4 RBI, and a stolen base.
- Asdrubal Cabrera had 3 hits and scored 3 runs.
- George Kottaras collected his third hit with the team, and it was his third home run with the team too. He later added a paltry single.
Those are four great performances, performances that could have been the story of many a recap. On this night though, they seem like mere footnotes in someone else's history, because Lonnie Chisenhall just had one of the greatest nights at the plate any of us has ever seen, or ever will.
An RBI single in the 1st was a nice start, but only hinted at what was to come. In the 2nd inning, Lonnie blasted a two-run shot over the wall in right, giving the Tribe an 8-1 lead, at which point the game was effectively over. Lonnie's night wasn't though, not by a long shot. In the 4th Chisenhall hit another two-run homer, giving him only the second multi-HR game of his career, and the first since 2011, as well as new career high for RBI in a game, with 5. In the 6th inning he doubled to score another run, giving him a new career high with 3 extra-base hits. He came to the plate once more in the 8th, and for the third time of the game, he parked one in the right-field seats, this time scoring 3 runs.
5 for 5, with 3 home runs, a double, a single, and 9 runs batted in.
If you're feeling faint, lie down and elevate your feet until your head clears.
A few more bullet points, because I'm too frazzled by what I saw tonight to function in complete paragraphs:
- Those 9 RBI tie a franchise record for a single game (Chris James set that record in 1991).
- Lonnie's 15 totals bases are only one shy of the franchise record, set by Rocky Colavito in 1959 (when he hit 4 HR in a game).
- Lonnie's OPS is now 1.044, which is the best in the American League among players with 100+ plate appearances.
- Lonnie now has 181 plate appearances, which leaves him 17 shy of being qualified for rate stats, so his .385 batting average can't quite be counted. However, the official rules state that if a player is short on PA, the number he is missing can be added to his total (as outs). Add an 0 for 17 to Lonnie's line, and he'd still be batting .348, easily enough to lead the league.
In February I wrote that it was way too early too give up on Chisenhall, and that I still expected him to become a good player. I'd be lying if I said I thought he had a season like this in him though. He's been one of the very best hitters in baseball, and if he comes anywhere close to keeping this up voer the next month, he'll belong on the All-Star team.
The win improves the Tribe's record to 33-31, and the 10-run margin of victory pushed their run differential to +1, the first time it's been positive in more than two months. Detroit lost again, which means the Indians are now only 2 games out of 1st place.
Like I said, lie down if you need to, and elevate your feet.
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