Where do we stand?
As of this writing, the Indians are 27-23 (.540), currently 1.5 games out of first place behind the White Sox.
What was the biggest surprise this month?
Spending most of it in first place and being second to the White Sox, instead of the Tigers, whom everybody expected to dominate the division. As far as players, the most pleasant surprise has been watching Casey Kotchman and Aaron Cunningham slowly and sometimes painfully inch their batting averages above the Mendoza Line. I guess we shouldn’t call him “Botchman” anymore. Other pleasant surprises have been watching Michael Brantley become more comfortable in center field (and starting to make plays like this one) and seeing Carlos Santana increase his caught stealing percentage.
What was the biggest disappointment this month?
Shelley Duncan and Johnny Damon. Saying that somebody is “out in left field” has taken on a whole new meaning. I’ve been a Duncan fan for a while, and while he started the season great, he’s been steadily losing steam. Duncan is currently hitting .204 with a .311 OBP. With a ho-hum fielding percentage of .980 and a range factor of 1.37, he had better start justifying his existence with his bat.
What are the challenges for the upcoming month?
Winning games by playing better baseball, not by getting lucky. Up to this point, we’ve scored 219 runs and allowed 243 runs. Our Pythagorean winning percentage is 23-27. The fact that our actual winning percentage is the reverse is too reliant on plain old luck.
Bonus question: Who will get placed on the DL next?
I’m hesitant even to speculate for fear of inadvertently cursing someone.