The Cleveland Indians are having a very mediocre season thus far. The Tribe are sitting at 20-20 through 40 games and lead the AL Central- perhaps the weakest division in baseball- by 1.5 games.
Francisco Lindor is a big reason for why the Indians are where they are at this point in the season. It was just announced that Lindor won the AL Player of the Week award- sharing the honor with Seattle’s James Paxton after he threw a no-hitter-for the second consecutive week. Lindor, going into Tuesday night’s game, has a 14 game hitting streak, which is the longest active streak in the MLB. He is batting .318 on the season with 12 home runs and 26 RBIs.
In the month of May, however, the All-Star shortstop is swinging one of the hottest bats in the MLB. He is 27-60 at the plate (.450 average), a .484 on base percentage, and a .983 slugging percentage. That is all to go along with eight doubles, eight home runs, and 15 RBIs. Lindor is swinging the bat well, not only for contact and getting on base, but also for power. He is third on the team in RBIs- behind Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez– has the second highest slugging percentage and is tied for the team lead in OPS.
Cleveland will need to keep seeing production from Lindor, especially in the next few weeks. After Cleveland is finished playing the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, it travels to Houston for three games then to Chicago to play the Cubs for a quick two games. Houston then comes to Cleveland for four games. The Astros and Cubs are at the top of their respective divisions and are playing good baseball.
Then the AL Central gauntlet starts. 25 of the next 36 games come against fellow AL Central opponents. Cleveland has a 9-4 record against Central opponents this year and this stretch could see the Tribe’s division lead grow to much more than just a game and a half.
In 13 games against the AL Central, Lindor has found some success. He is batting .296 with 16 hits, four home runs, and 10 RBIs. All of those numbers could see an increase if he continues the tear he has been on since the calendar turned to May.
With the slump that others have been in recently, like Jason Kipnis and Yonder Alonso, in addition to Tyler Naquin and Bradley Zimmer being on the DL, having the production from Lindor will end up paying dividends for the ball club down the road.
For Terry Francona to have a superstar like Lindor he can put at the leadoff spot and move to the middle of the lineup is crucial for the Indians success the rest of the season.