The Cleveland Indians trounced the Chicago White Sox in walk-off fashion Wednesday night, and nobody needed the hero moment more than Jason Kipnis.
Nobody on the Cleveland Indians roster needed a walk-off homer like Jason Kipnis.
The two-time All-Star has been horrific at the plate this season and just lost his job as the Tribe’s starting second baseman as fallout of the organization acquiring Josh Donaldson.
He was asked to play center field, and accepted the challenge, because Kip’s a team guy.
As he dug in the batter’s box against the White Sox with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, fans were thinking one thing: This guy needs this.
“This” could’ve been a seeing-eye single in-between first and second base. Instead, Kipnis launched a grand slam into the right field stands to send Indians’ fans home with a 4-1 win.
Will it have an impact on Kipnis’ season moving forward? It’s unlikely, especially at 31. But guys have beaten father time before.
In his last 30 games, Kipnis is batting .242 (.821 OPS) with six homers and 25 RBIs. For the season, he’s batting .229 (.705 OPS).
It’s great that he’s upped his average, but it’s even better to see that OPS above .800.
• The fan who caught the home run ball, which also happened to be Kipnis’ 1,00th career hit, traded the souvenir for an autographed Kipnis ball and a hug.
• Josh Donaldson’s really getting opportunities to test out that calf. He legged out an infield hit that traveled all of 15 feet to set up the Indians’ big ninth inning. He’s also crushing it at third, defensively.
• Carlos Carrasco passed Gary Bell for ninth on the Indians all-time strikeout list with 1,113. Carrasco’s posted a 2.36 ERA since the All-Star break and deserves to be in the conversation for the AL Cy Young Award. He won win it, but a top four finish isn’t out of the question.
For the year, Carrasco is 16-9 with a 3.35 ERA and 217 strikeouts, which is fourth in the American League.
• To be successful in the postseason, you need a little luck. Look at the Yankees last season. They lucked out facing a fatigued Corey Kluber.
Hopefully the Indians find a four-leaf clover before October in the form of Trevor Bauer, who’s returning from stress fracture in his right fibula. He hasn’t pitched since Aug. 12, yet is still tied with Justin Verlander for the AL lead in pitching WAR.
If Bauer returns to form, which is by no means guaranteed, then the trio of Kluber, Carrasco and Bauer will be as formidable as they come as far as postseason rotations go.
Carrasco and Kluber will finish in the top 4 of Cy Young voting, and Bauer might have won the whole thing if it weren’t for the fluke injury.