Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Brantley's July 2017 #s

hi again, Brantley fans! the calendar has now flipped to August and that means we only have two more months of regular season baseball left.๐Ÿ˜‰ time sure is flying. thank you to everyone who read my Brantley's June 2017 #s blog and Brantley's 2017 #s Through June blog. let me also thank those who read my Brantley's First Half 2017 #s blog. and i have to say hello๐Ÿ‘‹ and welcome to the people who viewed my blog in the last month from Czechia, Mozambique, Colombia, and Bangladesh!๐Ÿ—บ wow! i'm humbled, honored, and glad you found my All Things Brantley, All Things Tribe blog!๐Ÿ‘Œ

now let's get into Michael's July!๐Ÿ“…


July Overview

this month was highlighted with many special moments for Michael. from his being selected to the AL All Star team, to getting his first All Star Game hit, to collecting his 1,000th Major League career hit, to being part of his first double play of the season, to finally hitting his first home run since April 30, Michael had several reasons to smile about his performance in July.๐Ÿ˜€

the Indians had 26 games on their schedule this month and, unlike in June, Michael played in every contest except one. in his first nine games before the All Star Break, between July 1-9, Michael bat
.294 (10-for-34) with two doubles, one triple, seven RBI, six runs, three walks, and one stolen base. after the break, in 16 games between July 14-31, Michael bat .281 (18-for-64) with three doubles, three home runs, 12 RBI, 11 runs, five walks, and three stolen bases. he also acquired three assists and one double play in left field post-Break.

overall, Michael had a July batting average of .286. so while he undeniably racked up some nice stats this month, his average wasn't all that great. in fact, it was his worst monthly average thus far. Michael's season batting average currently stands at .299, seven points lower than where it was at the end of June. that's not the direction i want to see his BA go in.๐Ÿ˜•

Michael had a modest 8-game hitting streak at the beginning of the month and he finished July with an active 8-game hitting streak on the road. what i was really impressed by was his 17-game on-base streak between July 5-26, which was one game shy of his season high 18-gamer.

the month opened with three road games against the Detroit Tigers, including one doubleheader. Michael started and completed all three contests, which greatly surprised me. as for stats, he went a mediocre 3-for-12 with one RBI (resulting from a groundout) and one stolen base.

the Indians had an off day on July 3 before wrapping up the first half of the season with six games at home, including three versus the San Diego Padres and three more versus the Tigers. the three game interleague series did not begin well for Michael, as he was held hitless in four at bats. however, he made up for that by getting two hits in each of the other two games. altogether, Michael put up a 4-for-12 showing at the plate with an RBI triple, one walk, and three runs scored. when facing the Tigers again, Michael did much better, going 3-for-10 with two doubles, five RBI (four coming in one game, btw), and two walks. in total, he had three straight multi-hit games on this homestand and finished it 7-for-22.

baseball next saw its four-day All Star Break, which was much less of a break for those players who made the All Star team, including Michael. when he played in the All Star Game for the American League team on July 11, he got two at bats and went 1-for-2 with a single, marking his first career hit in a Midsummer Classic.

following the break, the Tribe embarked on a two-city, west coast trip. it started with three games against the Oakland Athletics and ended with three against the San Francisco Giants. Michael had some difficulty out of the break, as he went a mere 2-for-10, though he did have two RBI, two walks, two stolen bases, and one outfield assist. but it was a bad time for him to struggle considering his next series was more dreaded Interleague play. the series with the Giants was not going real well until the finale game. overall, Michael was 4-for-13 with one double, one RBI, two runs, and one walk. his double marked his 1,000th career hit. overall, the whole trip resulted in a 6-for-23 performance for Dr. Smooth.

the Indians had another day off on July 20, which really shouldn't have been necessary considering they'd just enjoyed time off at the All Star Break. but because they just lost five of their six road games, it may have been needed after all. when play commenced at home, the Tribe took on the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game affair before one make-up game versus the Cincinnati Reds and another three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels. Michael did very well in the Toronto series, going 4-for-11 with a double, home run, four RBI, four runs, one stolen base, and one double play in left field. he went 1-for-3 with an RBI sac fly in the Cincy game. and when facing LA, Michael put up a meager 3-for-14 showing with a home run, two RBI, three runs, and one walk. altogether, Michael ended his homestand 8-for-18.

a two-city, six-game road trip against both Sox teams was up next for the Tribe, though only four games were scheduled for July. their first opponents were the Chicago White Sox and after playing in two games, Michael was finally given a day off. to that point, he'd played in every game of the month, so it was a welcome break. he went 3-for-9 with a double, home run, two RBI, and one run against the ChiSox. on July 31, the club began their three-gamer with the Boston Red Sox. in one outing, Michael amassed a single, going 1-for-4 at the plate. in four road games, Michael finished the month 4-for-13.

the Indians still have two more tough games against the Red Sox and then a four-gamer with the New York Yankees. i hope Michael manages to get a couple more hits in the rest of this Sox series, which will be hard enough, before he has to face the Yanks. like Tom Hamilton told WTAM 1100 radio listeners, the Tribe will be playing "the big boys" in August. post-Break, Michael's already seen a slight decrease in his hitting, and i'd hate to see that downward trend continue next month. here's to a hot August!๐Ÿ”ฅ

what was your favorite Michael moment from July? leave me a comment below!


Michael's New Shoulder Prep Routine & His Way of Being a Leader

on July 1, John Alfes compiled a piece for scout.com detailing how Michael goes about his daily pregame routine now to ensure his shoulder stays as strong as possible. "one thing i'm learning really quick is it's not easy to miss an entire season and come back and play a full season again," Michael admitted. "you've got to do little stuff here and there to make sure you stay healthy. i do a lot of shoulder work to make sure my shoulder stays strong. it's more stuff that you put into pregame, making sure you're ready to go, but at the same time, i'll do whatever it takes to stay on the field.

"it goes back and forth. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, i try to do some type of rehab. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, it's just more kind of getting hot, rolling out, stretching. it's planned out. it doesn't take that long, but i have to make sure i do it every day."

when Michael re-sprained his right ankle in June, he had to begin the recovery process all over again. "it wasn't fun, but this is baseball. if i can play through a nagging injury, i'm going to play. i love being out there with this team, this great group of guys in this locker room. it's a long year. you're not always going to be 100 percent healthy, so you have to learn how to play a little nicked up. a lot of guys do it all the time in this locker room. i did it as long as i could, but now i'm healthy again, so i'm happy."

despite the occasional objection, manager Terry Francona tries to provide Michael with an off day when he thinks that would be the best thing for Dr. Smooth. "he's been really good and really honest, so when he tells me that he doesn't need it, i believe him. i think maybe a couple years ago, that might've gotten him into a problem. i think he's enjoying playing so much that he wants to make sure he continues, but he's also worked hard enough to where he can do it."

Alfes' article also touched on how Michael's leadership role. he has set an example for the rest of the team in the way he's worked so meticulously to return to the field. his actions, not so much his words, have made him one of the team leaders in the clubhouse for years. "it's not just since coming back," Tito proclaimed. "he's been a leader, probably since the day he got here. when you have guys like Giambi and Nap, they're going to get the attention, which they should. it doesn't take anything away from Brantley and the way he carries himself. the way he does lead, he's a good leader."


One Day Off

Michael played every game this month except one. (he also played an "extra" game when he was selected to take part in the 2017 All Star Game, losing out on an extended mid-season break.) Terry Francona finally opted to give him a day off on July 30 for the sole reason that a tough left-handed pitcher was starting, not because of any injury issues. "we're completely past it," Tito enlightened in Jordan Bastian's article on indians.com. "it's almost to the point where -- and this is probably wrong -- but you take it for granted. i know i've said it a lot of times before the season and during it early, but the only way this has worked is -- again, i think our medical people are really good -- but it's his work ethic. he's given everything he can. last year, it was such a big dent in us. it's nice to have him back. it's nice to go through a game and you look up and he's standing there. it's a good feeling."


Michael Reacts to Terry Francona's Health Issues

it wasn't Michael dealing with health issues for a change. Terry Francona had to leave two games early in June because he was light-headed and experiencing a rapid heart rate. on July 4, he went to Cleveland Clinic for more tests in hopes of getting to the bottom of the issue. he ended up missing the entire three-game series versus the San Diego Padres, so bench coach Brad Mills took over as the acting manager in Francona's place.

shortly after the start of the game versus the Padres on July 6, Jordan Bastian posted a twitter picture with quotes from some of the players in regards to Tito's absence. here's what Michael had to say: "our hearts are there. we contact him when we can to make sure he's doing OK. but, at the same time, we know that he wants us to go out there and play baseball and play competitive baseball. when he gets back, it's going to be a blessing. we know he's going to be back -- it's just a matter of when. we'll be excited to have him back."

also during the game, an article by Paul Hoynes went up on cleveland.com with several Indians players' thoughts about their skipper having missed his third straight game and Mills taking the reins. "Millsie has been with Tito for years and years and years," Michael contended. "he knows the things to say. he knows what's going on and what needs to be done. so does everybody in this locker room. we just have to go out and get it done on the field."

on July 7, Bastian's indians.com article revealed that Francona had a cardiac ablation heart procedure on July 6 and would be returning to manage the Tribe after the All Star Break, on July 14. therefore, he would not be able to manage the All Star Game in Miami on July 11.

"we're going to miss him obviously not being there because we're a group, we're a unit," declared Michael in Zack Meisel's cleveland.com article. "we'd love to have him there to manage the All-Star Game, but health is the No. 1 most important [thing]. we look forward to having him back."

from Chris Assenheimer's article on chroniclet.com, Michael also conveyed, "he's our leader. the energy level, he keeps guys loose in the dugout. he's a player's manager, we always say it, so we're going to love to have him back. he'll be back soon and we'll have him back with open arms."


BOP - Still #3

while Michael has maintained the 3rd spot in the batting order, which i am very thankful for, the guys batting around him changed several times in July. when Jason Kipnis missed time due to neck spasms and later went on the disabled list with a sprained his right hamstring, that opened up the leadoff spot for a new taker, and Michael ended up with five different players batting in front of him this month.
Bradley Zimmer stepped into the leadoff role, mainly when the Indians were facing a right-handed starter, though he did start once with a left-hander on the mound. both Brandon Guyer and Carlos Santana found themselves leading off for the Tribe in two games each against a lefty. Francisco Lindor, despite his pre-All Star Break struggles with the bat, remained in the 2 hole.

in July, Edwin Encarnacion mostly remained the cleanup man behind Michael, followed by Jose Ramirez batting 5th. but when the Tribe played in a National League Park, Ramirez bat 4th in one game, followed by Santana. and then on the final day of the month, Terry Francona moved Ramirez up to the 4 spot, with Encarnacion 5th. for a guy who's done nothing but preach about how Ramirez needs to hit behind Encarnacion for protection, this was a bit of a shock. he explained it as Santana is now hitting well enough to protect EE, and he'd rather have Ramirez leading off the 2nd inning if nobody gets on in the 1st. we'll see if this continues into August.

as for who bat 6th, Lonnie Chisenhall was there until he went on the disabled list with a strained right calf right after the AS Break and then a lot of changes were made. Santana, who was hitting 7th prior to Chiz's injury, got moved up to 6th. Abraham Almonte also hit 6th once during an IL contest and Guyer and Austin Jackson hit 6th at one time or another this month as well.

Michael reached base a total of 41 times via hits, walks, hit by pitches, fielder's choices, forceouts, and fielding errors this month. he scored 17 runs in July (his most in a month yet), three of which came from his own home runs. therefore, he was driven in 14 times versus left stranded 24 times by his teammates behind him. i'm still not satisfied with the amount of times Michael doesn't touch home after getting on base. the lineup needs to hit more consistently, all at the same time. "get 'em on, get 'em over, get 'em in."๐Ÿ˜‰

Tito seems set on not moving Michael from the #3 spot, so if you were building your lineup around that, what would it look like? let me know in the comments!


Areas Of Concern

i'm going to mention some things here that i've already discussed ad nauseum, but i can't help it because the struggles continue.

i'll being with Michael's 2-out hitting. he got A LOT of at bats this month with 2 outs in an inning and did not do well. incredibly, however, he did hit his two home runs of July when there were 2 outs. still, that wasn't enough to give him acceptable numbers overall.

i'm starting to feel like left-handed pitchers love to face Michael now because they know he is having some difficulties against southpaws this year. July was no exception. he went 0-for-7 before getting his first hit off a lefty on July 16.

his performance with RISP was below average this month. he had his greatest struggles with runners in scoring position and 1 out in particular. it is disappointing to see how someone who used to be so clutch has become more of a liability with runners on 2nd and/or 3rd base.๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

Michael did not have the greatest performance on the road when the team traveled this month either. his home and away splits are typically both above average, though he does put up higher numbers at home. still, he had more than a few poor games on the road in July and i know he can do better than that.

and last but not least, strikeouts. Michael continues to get fooled by pitches, resulting in a much higher than norm swing-and-miss rate. at this point, i'm not confident this will improve until next season...

did i leave out any areas that you're currently concerned with? let me know in the comments!


July Team Batting Winner

there were several Indians with high averages this month, but the player who had the highest July batting average out of all the qualifiers on the team was Carlos Santana with his .325 BA. wow. the next closest average was .318, owned by Francisco Lindor. Michael's average ranked 4th this month.๐Ÿ™

previous monthly batting average winners:
April - Jose Ramirez (.330)
May - Michael Brantley (.293)
June - Jose Ramirez (.367)


Team Leads & Career Highs

because he played a full month, he's got more numbers for me to include here this time!

in July, Michael led the team with 3 sac flies. he was tied for 1st with 1 triple and 19 RBI.

he led the outfielders with 3 assists and was tied for 1st with 1 double play.

he was 2nd on the team with 17 runs and 4 stolen bases. he was tied for 2nd with 19 singles, 2 intentional walks, and 1 hit by pitch. he also had the 2nd least amount of strikeouts among qualifying players with 12.

additionally, he was 3rd with 28 hits and 98 at bats, and tied for 3rd with 110 plate appearances.

after looking through his past July stats, i found that Michael set career highs for himself in July with 19 RBI, 3 sac flies, 2 intentional walks, a 4:0 stolen base:caught stealing ratio, and 3 outfield assists.


HR:RBI, LOB, K Rate, and Outs

are you ready for this? Michael finally hit a home run this month! in fact, he hit two home runs in July in three games and three total in July. his drought lasted 54 games and 232 plate appearances. i hope he never goes homerless for that long again.

Michael set a July career high with 19 RBI this month. on the flip side of that, he left 51 men on base. my goodness that's a lot of runners stranded. even though his RBI total is more than acceptable, it's insane to think Michael could've had up to 70 ribbies in July. i'll go easy on him because i am happy with the 19 RBI, but it just goes to show, he is having trouble hitting with RISP again.

time to bring back the HR:RBI ratio! two of Michael's 3 home runs were solo and the other one was a 2-run bomb. therefore, 10.5% of his 19 RBI in July came from his solo homers, while 21.1% of his 19 RBI came from all 3 of his home runs. despite the opinions of some fans, Michael does not and really has never needed to be a big home run hitter in order to be effective [in the 3 hole].

Michael's K rate in July was 10.9% (12 K/110 PA). he struck out once every 9.2 plate appearances. while Michael still swings at pitches outside the zone that he should not be swinging at, his overall strikeout rate is just about the norm for him. this month anyway.

if i sound like a broken record when i report that Michael continues to swing at balls out of the zone that he never used to offer at, i'm sorry, but it continues to be true. and the Indians' assistant hitting coach agrees. via Zack Meisel's July 25 cleveland.com article, Matt Quatraro unveiled that Michael "doesn't feel 100 percent locked in. he has a good swing that stays in the zone for a long time, so he gets hits, but he's swinging at more pitches that he normally wouldn't swing at. you see a little swing-and-miss. he's expanding more. he has such good hand-eye coordination to put some of those balls in play and get hits out of it. he's getting a lot of hits right now on pitches that he normally drives."

Michael had a total of 29 groundouts, 16 lineouts, 8 flyouts, and 8 pop outs* in July. so he is still making more contact with the ball than not. and once again, he's got more ground ball outs than any other type of outs. however, i am pleased to see he had more lineouts than flyouts this month. if a player is going to hit into an out, a hard out is the best out.

*note: i finally figured out why my counts here do not equal what's on indians.com. first off, despite what it says, that website does count flyouts, lineouts, and pop outs altogether. as for the groundouts, they count GIDPs as two groundouts, while i only count them as one because it's only one out for Michael. i can understand the argument for considering it as two outs, because in the game it is two outs, but my reasoning to do it the way i do is because Michael still goes 0-for-1 at the plate regardless.


Streaks & Situational Statistics

Michael had a hit in 20 of the 25 games he played in July and reached base safely in 23 games. he had 5 hitless games, but reached base in 3 of those. Michael had 8 multi-hit games, no three+ hit games, and 3 multi-RBI games. he had at least one RBI in 13 games. he also had 4 go-ahead hits and 5 go-ahead RBI this month. the Indians were 15-10 in games that Michael played in and 0-1 in the game he missed.

Michael had an 8-game hitting streak between June 13 - July 2. it spanned over June 13-14, June 27-29, and July 1-2.

Michael had an 8-game on-base streak between June 13 - July 2 as well.

Michael had a 17-game on-base streak between July 5-26. it spanned over July 5-9 and July 14-26.

Michael had an 11-game on-base streak at home between July 5-26. it spanned over July 5-9 and July 21-26.

Michael has an active 12-game on-base streak on the road between July 1-31. it spans over July 1-2, July 14-19, July 28-29, and July 31.

Michael has an active 8-game hitting streak on the road between July 15-31. it spans over July 15-19, July 28-29, and July 31.

in July, Michael bat .300 (21-for-70) against right-handed pitchers and .250 (7-for-28) against left-handed pitchers. i can't hide my disappointment with his performance against lefties this month. so far this year, he's alternating between having a good month, then a bad month, and then a good month, and a bad month when facing southpaws. for his sake, i hope he can do good against them in both August and September. he'll certainly need to be able to hit them if the Tribe gets far into the playoffs, just saying.

Michael bat .300 (15-for-50) with 13 RBI in all 13 games at home. he hit safely in 9 of the 13 home games he played in and safely got on base in 11 of them. he was hitless in 4 home games, but reached base in 2.

Michael bat .271 (13-for-48) with 6 RBI in 12 of 13 games away from Progressive Field. he hit safely in 11 of the 12 road games he played in and safely reached base in all 12 of them. he was hitless in 1 road game, but still reached base in it.

Michael hit .258 (8-for-31) with runners in scoring position, producing 13 RBI in July. breaking it down, he hit .429 (3-for-7) with RISP and 0 outs, .154 (2-for-13) with RISP and 1 out, and .273 (3-for-11) with RISP and 2 outs. it's shocking how he did worse with 1 out this month than with 2 outs in an inning, and man did he have difficulty with RISP and 1 out. so much so that it really dragged his whole RISP average down. but again, you can see my case for this being an area of concern.

with 2 outs in an inning in July, Michael bat .220 (9-for-41). he had 1 double, 2 home runs, 6 RBI, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts (2 swinging, 1 looking). boy did he come to bat with 2 outs a lot this month. whether guys were on base or not, practically every time i turned around, he was coming to the plate with 2 outs. and sadly, he became an inning-ender a lot of those times.

additionally, he hit .302 (16-for-53) with 17 RBI with runners on base and .000 (0-for-4) with 1 RBI with the bases loaded this month. he got several chances to come up big with the bags juiced in July, but other than a fielder's choice, he didn't do much.

Michael also bat .267 (12-for-45) with the bases empty. he had 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 2 RBI, 5 walks, and 4 strikeouts (3 swinging, 1 looking).

furthermore, Michael had a 0.3 fWAR (wins above replacement), a 101 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus--the ability to create runs compared to the league average), and a 1.4 BsR (baserunning runs above average with stolen bases and caught stealings) in July. his BsR ranked 1st, his WAR ranked 8th, and his wRC+ ranked 10th among 17 qualifying American League left fielders. [these stats all came courtesy of fangraphs.com.]


Versus AL Central Division Teams

vs. the Detroit Tigers, Michael bat .273 (6-for-22) in 6 games--3 on the road and 3 at home in July. the Indians went 4-2 in the games he played in. overall, Michael had 4 singles, 2 extra base hits--doubles, 6 RBI, 1 sac fly, 3 runs, 2 walks (1 intentional), 1 stolen base (3rd), and 8 total bases. he also grounded into 1 double play, struck out looking once, and left 10 men on base. furthermore, he had a .320 OBP, .364 SLG, and .684 OPS. defensively, he played 49 innings, but only 5 complete games in left field because he was subbed out defensively after 5 innings in 1 game because the Indians were winning a blowout. he also recorded 10 putouts. it wasn't a bad series for Michael, per se, but i think he can do better.

vs. the Chicago White Sox, Michael bat .333 (3-for-9) in 2 of the 3 road games in July. the Indians went 2-0 in the games he played in and lost the game he did not play in. overall, Michael had 1 single and 2 extra base hits--1 double and 1 home run--to go along with 2 RBI, 1 sac fly, 1 run, 1 first at bat hit and 7 total bases. he also had 1 strikeout swinging and left 7 men on base. furthermore, he had a .300 OBP, .778 SLG, and 1.078 OPS. while playing left field, Michael recorded 3 putouts in 16 total innings, but only 1 complete game because he was subbed out defensively after 7 innings in 1 game because the Indians were winning a blowout. i know it's just two games but i was pretty happy with this performance from Michael.

the Indians did not face the Kansas City Royals or Minnesota Twins in July.


Interleague Play

in July, Michael played seven games against three National League opponents, going 9-for-28 and batting .321 overall. though he had a rough time in some individual games, he still ended up with excellent IL numbers this month and had his best average yet. i'm really pleased.๐Ÿ‘

vs. the San Diego Padres at Progressive Field, Michael bat .333 (4-for-12) in 3 home games in July. the Indians went 1-2 in the games he played in. overall, he had 3 singles, 1 extra base hit--a triple, 1 RBI, 3 runs, 1 walk, 1 first at bat hit, and 6 total bases. he also had 1 GIDP, 2 strikeouts (1 swinging, 1 looking), and 7 men left on base. furthermore, he had a .385 OBP, .500 SLG, and .885 OPS. in the field, Michael played 18 innings/2 complete games in left and recorded 2 putouts. he was the DH for 1 game. this was definitely one of his best IL series so far this season.

vs. the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park (no designated hitter allowed), Michael bat .308 (4-for-13) in 3 road games in July. the Indians went 1-2 in the games he played in. overall, he had 3 singles, 1 extra base hit--a double, 1 RBI, 2 runs, 1 walk, and 5 total bases. he also had 1 strikeout swinging and 4 left on base. furthermore, he had a .357 OBP, .385 SLG, and .742 OPS. in the field, Michael played 26 innings/3 complete games in left and recorded 4 putouts. after starting out 1-for-9 in the first two games, Michael really redeemed himself in the finale to give himself a good average against San Fran.

vs. the Cincinnati Reds at Progressive Field, Michael bat .333 (1-for-3) in 1 home game in July. (this was a makeup game from a rain-out on May 25.) the Indians went 1-0 in the game he played in. overall, he had 1 single, 1 RBI, 1 sac fly, and 1 total base. he also struck out swinging once and left 3 men on base. furthermore, he had a .250 OBP, .333 SLG, and .583 OPS. in the field, Michael played 9 innings/1 complete game in left and recorded 3 putouts. his RBI was a go-ahead early in the game, so i'll happily take this performance from him.


League Rankings

Michael played more than enough games to be considered a qualifying player for this month. therefore, i can compare all of his stats to the rest of the qualifiers around the league. as always, i'm only documenting those that fall within the Top 10.

among qualifying left fielders in the American League, Michael ranked 1st in RBI (19), sac flies (3), runs (17), intentional walks (2), and at bats (98); 2nd in plate appearances (110); tied for 2nd in hits (28), singles (19), and games played (25); tied for 3rd in triples (1); 4th in walks (8); tied for 4th in stolen bases (4); 5th in total bases (44); tied for 5th in doubles (5); 6th in extra base hits (9), batting average (.286), and OBP (.336); tied for 6th in home runs (3) and hit by pitches (1); 8th in OPS (.785); and 9th in SLG (.449). Michael also ranked 17th out of 17 players in strikeouts (12), making him the hardest AL left fielder to K in July.

among qualifying outfielders in the American League, Michael was tied for 2nd in sac flies, and intentional walks; 3rd in RBI; tied for 3rd in hits and singles; tied for 5th in triples, and runs; 6th in at bats; 7th in plate appearances; tied for 7th in total bases; tied for 9th in extra base hits, stolen bases, and games played; and 10th in batting average. plus, out of 37 players, Michael was for 36th in strikeouts, meaning he was the second hardest AL outfielder to strike out in July.

among qualifying players in the American League, Michael was tied for 3rd in sac flies; tied for 4th in intentional walks; tied for 9th in triples; and tied for 10th in RBI. he also ranked tied for 85th out of 97 players in strikeouts, or tied for the 5th hardest player to strike out in the AL this month.

among all qualifying left fielders in the Major Leagues, Michael was 1st in runs; 2nd in sac flies; tied for 2nd in RBI and intentional walks; 3rd in plate appearances and at bats; tied for 3rd in games played; tied for 4th in hits and singles; tied for 5th in walks and stolen bases; tied for 6th in triples; 10th in total bases; and tied for 10th in hit by pitches. besides that, Michael is 30th out of 31 players in strikeouts.

among all qualifying outfielders in the Major Leagues, Michael was tied for 3rd in sac flies; tied for 4th in intentional walks; and tied for 8th in singles and RBI. he ranked tied for 68th out of 73 players in strikeouts as well, making him tied for the 3rd toughest player to K this month.

among all qualifying players in the Major Leagues, Michael was tied for 6th in sac flies. Michael's strikeouts were also tied for 160th out of 185 players; he was tied for the 6th hardest player to strike out in MLB in July.


July Standout Games, Spotlights, & Quotes

Michael played in both games of their doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers on July 1. he went 1-for-4 in each game, hitting a line drive single in the first and a ground ball single in the second. he hit four total line drives in the day game, but the only one that resulted in a hit came in his fourth at bat in the top of the 8th inning with 1 out and the Indians down, 7-4. after an 0-2 count from right-hander Bruce Rondon, Michael sent a liner into center field. then in the night game, Michael got his lone hit in the top of the 4th inning with 1 out and the Indians behind, 1-0. facing righty starter Jordan Zimmermann, he hit a ground ball single into right field on a 1-2 count. those two hits were enough for Michael to end the day with a 7-game hitting streak. he also had a game-tying RBI (groundout) in the second contest, which i was very surprised Terry Francona permitted Michael to play in. regardless, his total plate appearances in both games quickly got Michael back to being a qualifying player for the 2017 season.๐Ÿ˜€

on July 2, Michael was involved in a very odd and almost botched double steal in the game against the Tigers. he'd gotten on base with a 1-out, ground ball single off right-handed starter Justin Verlander after a 2-0 count, a single that extended Michael's hitting streak to 8 games. Edwin Encarnacion next hit an RBI single to score Francisco Lindor, who'd been on 3rd base. Michael moved up to 2nd and the Indians took a 5-1 lead. the Tigers made a pitching change and brought in left-hander Chad Bell. he threw ball 1 to Jose Ramirez, and that's when mass chaos ensued.

Michael had his lead off 2nd base and kinda faked as though he was going to steal as the first offering was being thrown to Ramirez. meanwhile, Encarnacion was off and running and was literally more than halfway to 2nd base before Michael realized it, so he had no choice but to go for 3rd base for real. by the time the Tigers catcher threw to the 2nd baseman, Encarnacion safely jogged onto 2nd base. then, their 2nd baseman threw to the 3rd baseman in an attempt get Michael out, but he slid into 3rd base safely before the tag was applied. Michael and Edwin were very lucky that they somehow pulled off a successful double steal and did not run themselves into an inning-ending double play. if the sign was on for a double steal, Michael clearly missed it lol that was Michael's eighth stolen base on the year, and what a dramatic one it was. after another ball to Ramirez, Michael and Eddie scored on Josey's line drive home run to deep right field.

Michael was 1-for-4 in the game, but did reach base once more in the top of the 6th inning. Bell was still pitching for the Tigers with Lindor at 1st base and the Indians up, 8-1. after a 1-2 count, Michael grounded out to the 1st baseman, who threw to the shortstop to force out Lindor at 2nd base, allowing Michael to reach 1st on a fielder's choice. immediately following that, Michael scored his second run of the day when Encarnacion hit a first-pitch fly ball RBI triple to deep right-center field.

later in the evening, during the Esurance All Star Selection Show on ESPN, the Cleveland Indians announced that Michael had been selected by the players to be an American League outfield reserve in the 2017 All Star Game on July 11! i wrote a special, separate blog with all the details and lots of quotes from Michael here.

Michael had his first multi-hit game of the month on July 5 versus the San Diego Padres when he went 2-for-4 with two singles. his first hit came in the bottom of the 5th inning with 1 out, Lindor at 2nd base, and the Tribe down, 3-2. after a 1-1 count from right-hander Luis Perdomo, Michael hit a sharp ground ball single that deflected off Perdomo and went to the 3rd baseman. because of that, Lindor did not score and could only advance to 3rd. the base hit was Michael's first hit in the series, but he was still just 1-for-7 versus the Padres at the time.

Michael got his second single in the bottom of the 7th inning with 2 outs and the Indians behind, 6-2.  righty reliever Phil Maton was pitching for the Padres and on another 1-1 count, Michael sent a line drive single to deep center field.

before the game versus the Padres on July 6, Andre Knott, Indians in-game reporter for SportsTime Ohio, did an interview with Michael in the dugout. the SportsTime Ohio twitter account posted a short video clip from it, with Michael answering a question that i assume had something to do with the Indians' inconsistent offense. "we come off a great series win against Detroit and then we didn't score last night, and you know, we get hot, then we get a little bit cold, but it's baseball. take the good with the bad. we still got a long ways to go so, one day at a time and everything will be just fine."

Brad Mills, the acting manager while Terry Francona was out having tests done to determine why he'd been having episodes of dizziness and a rapid heart rate, wrote Michael into the day's lineup at the designated hitter. Michael had not been the DH in a game since September 6, 2015, and if memory serves, he was not too big a fan of it.

no matter, i guess, because Michael had another 2-for-4 performance at the plate and scored three runs. it all began against right-handed starter Dinelson Lamet in the bottom of the 1st inning of the scoreless game with Lindor at 1st base and 1 out. after evening the count at 1, Michael hit a line drive RBI triple to right field!

photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter
photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

that marked Michael's first triple of 2017 and his first 3-bagger since July 31, 2014! not only that, but it was also Michael's first go-ahead hit and go-ahead RBI since June 9!

he later scored his first run of the night on Ramirez's 2-out home run to deep right-center field.

photos courtesy of @Indians on twitter

Michael next got on base when he led off the bottom of the 3rd inning against Lamet and drew a walk after a 3-1 count. Lamet's first pitch to Michael was a called strike and then he threw four straight balls. the Indians were up, 3-0, but extended their lead to 4-0 when Lonnie Chisenhall hit a sac fly to deep right field to score Michael.

run #3 came in the bottom of the 8th inning. Michael faced right-hander Kevin Quackenbush with 1 out and the Tribe dominating, 9-2. after getting ahead in the count 2-0, he hit a line drive single to right field. three batters later, Michael scored his third run of the night on Chiz's 2-run double to deep left field. it was his second three run game of the season, with his previous coming back on April 18. but even with the three runs, Michael still only had 30 runs scored in 2017 at that time...๐Ÿ˜ฌ

unfortunately, Michael had an unfair strikeout looking added to his stats during this game as well. you guys know by now that MOST of Dr. Smooth's looking strikeouts are BS. but this one occurred in his third plate appearance in the bottom of the 4th inning. Yan Gomes was on 1st base with 2 outs and the Indians held a 5-0 lead. after a 2-2 count from Lamet, strike 3 was called. the pitch sequence went: ball, ball, foul, called strike, called strike. however, that first called strike was not a strike, and so strike 3 really should have been strike 2 and the at bat should have continued on a 3-2 count. sigh. prior to this, Michael last struck out looking on June 2.

picture this: Michael Brantley the infielder. it might not be that far fetched because during batting practice on July 7 before the game versus the Tigers, he was seen fielding grounders on the infield. i know some fans have long wanted to see Michael move to 1st base, but he was actually working behind the 2nd base bag with Jason Kipnis. it couldn't have been anything more than him just messing around, could it? see for yourself in the video provided by cleveland.com on their youtube channel.

Michael had a tremendous performance later at night, acquiring his third consecutive 2-for-4 game and collecting 4 RBI. matter of fact, all five times he came to bat, he did so with RISP.

Michael got the ribbie party started in the bottom of the 3rd inning with Kip at 3rd base, Lindor at 1st, 1 out, and no score. as the first pitch was thrown to him from right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, Lindor stole 2nd base. then after a full count, Michael hit a line drive, 2-run double down the right field line and would later score on Ramirez's RBI single. his hit also signified the second straight game that Michael put the Indians on the board first and got a go-ahead hit and go-ahead RBI.

photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter
photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

Michael's next RBI opportunity was a big one and it came in the bottom of the 4th inning with the Tribe leading, 5-1, 2 outs and the bases loaded, featuring Yan Gomes at 3rd, Kipnis at 2nd, and Lindor at 1st. the Tigers had lefty reliever Chad Bell on the mound and on a 1-1 count, Michael hit an inning-ending ground ball double play to 2nd base. after just four GIDP in his first 61 games, Michael had now grounded into two double plays in his last three games.๐Ÿ˜•

in his fourth AB in the bottom of the 6th inning, Michael faced right-hander Alex Wilson with Lindor at 3rd base, no outs, and the Indians winning, 8-2. finding himself ahead in the count, 2-0, he swung at the next offering and sent a ground ball through 2nd and short and into center field for an RBI single. he advanced to 2nd base on a first-pitch wild pitch to Encarnacion, but never came around to score.

Michael's fifth and final trip to the plate took place in the bottom of the 7th inning. Kipnis was at 3rd, Lindor was at 1st, and the Tribe had a commanding 10-2 lead. with 1 out, Michael lined out to right field on left-hander Blaine Hardy's 1-0 pitch. Kip almost messed up but tagging late but he made it home safely and so Michael got an RBI sac fly and his fourth RBI of the game.

the last time Michael had 4 RBI in a game was August 25, 2015. and, per Jensen Lewis' tweet, this was Michael's seventh career 4-RBI game. he could have had even more RBI, if not for him leaving 4 men on base. Lewis further informed that Michael's single-game career high was 5 RBI, which oddly enough occurred on July 7 in 2013.

aside from the GIDP, Michael's other out came in the form of a strikeout looking. in his first at bat in the bottom of the 1st inning, Kipnis was at 2nd base with 1 out. unfortuantely, on Zimmerman's 7th pitch of a 2-2, strike 3 was called. it was just Michael's 7th strikeout looking of the season. the pitch sequence went: called strike, swinging strike, ball, foul, ball, foul, called strike 3.

prior to the July 8 game versus the Tigers, Michael and the Indians hosted Wooster High School's baseball team bat boy, Joey McGhee. he has Down syndrome and models his game after Michael. when the Indians heard his story, they asked him and his family to come to the ballpark. here's a photo of him and his friend with Michael and Kipnis:

photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter

in the game, Michael went 1-for-3, getting four plate appearances all with runners on base. he hit into two outs and was intentionally walked once, but he had one fantastic at bat in particular against Justin Verlander that i just have to spotlight. there was still no score in the bottom of the 5th inning when Michael came to bat for the third time against the right-hander. Lindor was at 1st base after hitting a 2-out single. before Verlander even threw a pitch to Michael, he threw to 1st in an attempt to pick off Lindor. on the 9th pitch of a 3-2 count, Michael hit a line drive RBI double to deep right-center field.

photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter

it was a phenomenal at bat and marked Michael's third straight game with the go-ahead hit and RBI to break a scoreless tie! (btw, i was at this game and recorded this at bat--it was a 6:00 minute at bat!)

okay, let's go through the AB pitch-by-pitch (with a little help from Jason Beck's postgame article on indians.com).

photo courtesy of @TJZuppe on twitter

pitch #1: curveball at the knees, called strike. 0-1 count.
pitch #2: 97 mph fastball inside, ball. 1-1 count.
pitch #3: called strike. 1-2 count.
pitch #4: curveball in the dirt, causing Michael to almost fall down to avoid being hit, ball. 2-2 count.
pitch #5: curveball at the knees, fouled outside of 1st base. 2-2 count.
pitch #6: fastball off the plate, fouled down the left side. 2-2 count.
pitch #7: slider over the plate, fouled 1st base side. 2-2 count.
pitch #8: high fastball, ball. 3-2 count.
pitch #9: curveball, line drive double.

Verlander has faced Michael more than any other pitcher. he's had more success against him in the past, however, going 15-for-38 from 2009 to 2013, but with just two extra base hits, as per Beck's article. since then, Michael's only gone 7-for-38 (counting July 8). still, Michael should be pretty familiar with everything Verly has to offer at this point. in total, Michael saw 19 pitches in his four PA against Verlander, who made 115 pitches in the game.

"it's a battle every time," Michael disclosed. "there's so much video and there's so much tape to go back years and years. you really try to simplify it and get a pitch out over the plate, don't try to do too much, stay up the middle and don't get caught in any tendencies. he's a great pitcher over there, he's their ace, and we were lucky to get the victory tonight."

"he was staying on the corners, staying off the middle of the plate and mixing it up," Michael explained about his nine-pitch at bat. "i was lucky to get a breaking ball out over the plate and put a good swing on it."

"he never gets out of his game plan," Verlander shared after the game. "he's so patient and calm at the plate. there's no panic. ever. even going back to when i'm throwing 101, 102 [mph], he's just nice and calm, fouling stuff off. you make a mistake and he hits it. you make good pitches and he fouls it off. it's easy to get frustrated as a pitcher. but i've dealt with these guys enough that it's just par for the course."

when told that Michael fouled off everything but the kitchen sink, Verlander quipped, "no, the kitchen sink was in there, too.

"even though it was a decent curveball in a decent spot, it kind of just ran away from him a little bit. so i think it gave him just enough time to say, 'oh, it's a curveball.' it kind of just came out just a hair early. but we're kind of nitpicking right now."

"looking back, maybe i should've called a backdoor curveball instead of going in there," Tigers catcher Alex Avila second-guessed. "but he's still got to hit it."

on July 9, the Cleveland Indians who were chosen to be part of this year's All Star Game received their All Star workout jerseys prior to the game versus the Tigers. here are a few photos that were taken of the guys, minus Corey Kluber because he was in the bullpen warming up for his start), courtesy of @Indians on twitter:


on July 11, Michael played in his second career All Star Game. this one was held at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. Michael, being a reserve player, did not enter the game until the top of the 6th inning. he was part of the American League team, which was the road team in the contest. all-in-all, Michael played 5 innings in left field and had two at bats. he went 1-for-2 with a single at the plate. for details about his ASG adventure, interviews leading up to it, pictures from the game, and Michael's postgame thoughts, read the separate blog i wrote entitled Brantley's 2017 All Star Game Experience & #s (w/ Pics & Quotes).

Michael broke some skids in the game on July 16 against the Oakland Athletics. in his second at bat in the top of the 4th inning, Brandon Guyer was at 3rd base and Lindor was at 2nd with the Indians behind, 5-0. Michael faced tough left-hander Sean Manaea and after a 3-1 count, he hit a line drive single into center field to score both runners and put the Tribe on the board. the pitch sequence went: ball, ball, ball, called strike, single.

photo courtesy of Ben Margot via The Associated Press
photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

that hit was his first with RISP since July 7, breaking an 0-for-4 slump in his last 5 plate appearances. that hit also marked Michael's first off a left-handed pitcher since June 28, after going 0-for-7 in his previous 8 plate appearances.

in addition, during Carlos Santana's at bat, he stole 2nd base as ball 3 was thrown to run the count full. that gave Michael 10 stolen bases for the year and pulled him into a 3-way tie with Ramirez and Zimmer for the team lead. Santana drew a 2-out walk, but Michael was left stranded.

Michael got his first multi-hit game after the All Star Break on July 19 when he went 2-for-4 against the San Francisco Giants, with one of those hits representing a big milestone in Michael's career. the Indians were down, 1-0, in the top of the 3rd inning when Michael had his second at bat. Carlos Carrasco was at 2nd base (he drew a walk! gotta love interleague), Zimmer was at 1st, and there were 2 outs. right-handed pitcher Matt Cain was on the mound and Michael swung at his first offering, resulting in a game-tying, ground ball RBI single to right field. it was definitely a sight to see Carrasco slide home and get his hand on the plate. Michael moved up to 2nd base on the throw home and later scored on Ramirez's 2-run single.

then, in Michael's fourth at bat of the day, he accomplished something special. with the Tribe up, 3-2, and 1 out in the top of the 8th inning, he faced left-hander Steven Okert. after an 0-1 count, he sent a line drive into the right field corner for a double. that extra base hit marked Michael's 1,000th career hit! Michael also scored his second run of the game after Santana's RBI single.

photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

i wrote a separate blog with more details about this momentous occurrence here and spotlighted it further in the In Indians History section of the blog below.

in addition, Michael got one more plate appearance in the top of the 9th inning with 2 outs, Zimmer at 2nd base, Lindor at 1st, and the Indians leading, 4-2. with the count full, right-handed pitcher Sam Dyson walked Michael. the pitch sequence went: ball, ball, ball, called strike, called strike, ball. lost in the excitement of Michael's 1,000th hit, this was Michael's 300th career walk.

before the game versus the Toronto Blue Jays on July 21, an article on chroniclet.com by Chris Assenheimer contained an excerpt on how Michael still hadn't hit a home run since April with some thoughts about it from Francona. i don't know why Assenheimer would choose to focus on that when this was Michael's first game after acquiring his 1,000th career hit, but i guess that's why i'm not a real writer.

"i don't know if i ever get too fixated on it," explained Francona. "he's battled back so much to be an every-day player. i guess i care more about him being healthy enough to be in the lineup. there are some players that you just come to trust so much, and he's one of them. whether he's hitting the ball out of the ballpark or not, his presence in the lineup helps you win games."

i think it's worth mentioning that during the game, Michael finally got the team lead back in stolen bases. in the bottom of the 5th inning with the Indians behind, 3-2, Michael came to bat against right-hander Marco Estrada with 1 out and the bases loaded--Roberto Perez at 3rd, Erik Gonzalez at 2nd, and Lindor at 1st. on the 6th pitch of a 2-2 count, Michael grounded out to 2nd, forcing Lindor out at 2nd, while he got on base with a fielder's choice. Perez also scored to give him an RBI. Michael then stole 2nd base on the first pitch (ball) of Encarnacion's at bat, giving him a team high 11 stolen bases on the year. he later scored on Encarnacion's 2-run double.

on July 22, Michael went 2-for-3 versus the Blue Jays with a single, double, and a walk. he also acquired his first double play of the season, but i'm only discussing his offense here. (see my subsequent In The Field section of this blog for details about the DP.) his first hit came in the bottom of the 4th inning with Lindor at 1st base, 1 out, and no score. after running the count full, he fouled off right-hander Marcus Stroman's 6th pitch before hitting a ground ball single through 1st and 2nd base and into right field.

photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

his double occurred in his next at bat in the bottom of the 6th inning with 1 out and the Tribe up, 1-0. he hit Stroman's first pitch and sent a ground ball to right field. then he advanced to 3rd base when Stroman's first offering to Encarnacion resulted in a wild pitch.

photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

for good measure, Michael also drew a 1-out walk in the bottom of the 8th inning after a 3-1 count from Stroman with the game tied at 1.

Michael had a great day on July 23 versus the Blue Jays, going 2-for-4. (he possibly could have gotten a third hit, too, but Tito gave him the last two innings off and so he missed out on another at bat.) every time he came to the plate, there was at least one runner on base, so he had a lot of RBI opportunities. in addition to the two hits, Michael racked up three RBI and scored two runs.

he got his first hit in his first at bat in the bottom of the 1st inning with Santana at 2nd base, Lindor at 1st, and no score. he swung at left-hander J.A. Happ's first offering and sent a line drive single to center field. that scored Santana, giving Michael a go-ahead hit and go-ahead RBI.

photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

Michael's next hit was one that A LOT of people were anxiously awaiting. the Indians led, 5-1, in the bottom of the 6th inning with 2 outs and Santana at 1st base. after a 3-0 count, Michael hit Happ's pitch high and deep to center field for a 2-run home run! that marked his first home run since April 30, ending a 54-game drought! he went 232 plate appearances in between home runs. it was also his second homer off a lefty this season.

photos courtesy of @Indians on twitter
photo courtesy of @MLBBarrelAlert on twitter

Michael hit a 93.2 mph four-seamer 99.2 mph, at a 26 degree angle, 408 feet in 5.1 seconds, according to MLBBarrelAlert's twitter photo.

even though he was taken out of the game early, Knott got him to do an on-field interview after the game. from a video on the FOX Sports Ohio youtube channel, Michael discussed the game plan to jump on Happ early. "he throws a lot of fastballs. he's a great pitcher, keeps the ball down. i wanted to be aggressive, i didn't want to get too far behind and luckily enough i got a good pitch out on the middle and squared it up the middle."

after that, things got a little off track when Trevor Bauer brought out a Kipnis replica baseball that he and Carrasco made lol

then Knott just couldn't resist asking Michael how being a dad again has been. "it's great. it's phenomenal. it's a blessing. i love my kids more than anything."

in the locker room, Knott asked Lindor how big it was to see Michael's home run. "it was pretty cool," Lindor smiled in a twitter video from SportsTimeOhio. "pretty cool. the way he did it, 3-0, nobody thought he was gonna swing. when he hit it, it was like 'no way. he did it.' i didn't know he hasn't hit a home run in a while, i didn't know. but all i know is he's a good hitter, one of the best hitters in the game and he's not finished with how many home runs he's got right now.

"it's special [to be around a guy that doesn't change his game at all to hit home runs], it's special. he knows his body, he knows his approach. he understands that he's gonna hit home runs but not trying to hit home runs, and whenever you get a guy like that, you learn from him and continue to try to pick his brain. that way you can incorporate it into your game."

in Ben Weinrib's indians.com article, Michael also commented on the fans' impact and the importance of playing well at home to finish out the season. "it's huge, especially with this great group of fans that we have supporting us day in and day out. to come home to home territory and feel comfortable and get victories and win series is very important for the rest of the way."

furthermore, during Francona's postgame presser, he responded to a media comment about how nice it was to see Michael finally hit a ball over the fence. "i don't get very shook up about however, when they come or things like that," the skipper expressed via FOX Sports Ohio's youtube video. "i know that, kinda like Kluber, pencil, put him in that 3 hole and, the way he plays he outfield, his at bats, the quality of at bats, the home runs will come but the gap power is probably more important than anything else."

Assenheimer's article on chroniclet.com on July 24 had more information about Michael's long-awaited bomb, including how the players gave him the cold shoulder in the dugout afterwards. "i didn't even think about it," Tito admitted. "i looked around and then i saw that nobody was (reacting), and i was cracking up. so, i went over and told him, i said, 'i'll give you a little love,' because everybody was just, nothing. i think stuff like that's funny."

funny or not, Francona was never concerned with Michael's home run drought. "i never even thought to say anything to him. he's so consistent. as long as he's driving the ball in the gaps and stuff and getting the production. his at-bats are so good, especially with men on base. you get a runner on third in this day and age in baseball, you just don't see a lot of guys alter their at-bats much. they just kind of hit how they hit. and Brant's one of the few, you very rarely see him pull off with a runner on third. he makes that pitcher beat him, because he knows the one way they're going to get out of it is if he pulls off and rolls over, and he doesn't do that. it's really impressive."

in the afternoon on July 25, another article came out, this time by Zack Meisel of cleveland.com, regarding Michael's power drought. Indians assistant hitting coach Matt Quatraro provided a few theories as to why Dr. Smooth hit five homers in April and then went so long without one. "he's healthy now. at the beginning of the year, he was still building up his reps. i really just think it's a matter of confidence and feeling like you're 100 percent there with your swing. he's so hyper-aware of everything in his swing. if it's a little bit off, sometimes it takes him out of his approach a little bit."

in an ironic twist, Michael made all these writers look silly when he hit his second home run in three games. the Indians had a big 6-0 lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Michael came to the plate with 2 outs. he quickly hit right-handed pitcher Jesse Chavez's first pitch 420 feet to deep center field and extended the lead, 7-0. who lost his power? haha!๐Ÿ’ช

photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter
photo courtesy of Ron Schwane via The Associated Press

photo courtesy of @MLBBarrelAlert on twitter

the game went to extra innings and i have to say, i was saddened that Michael's opportunity for a walk-off was taken away from him in the bottom of the 11th inning. with the game tied at 7, Zimmer was at 3rd and Lindor was at 1st base, but righty Bud Norris, under the direction of Angels' manager Mike Scioscia, intentionally walked Michael. he came around to score though on Encarnacion's game winning walk-off grand slam. and, as always, he made sure to stay out of the mob scene lol

photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter

during the July 26 game versus the Angels, a mini-Michael Brantley baseball emerged. so, the backstory on this is Bauer and Carrasco had been taking baseballs and creating a mini team, or replicas of Indians players during games, but only when the Tribe was winning. and on this night, the Brantley ball was presented and introduced to the world by Knott. Michael's ball has his signature mohawk-style haircut, but he's not smiling.๐Ÿ™ it really looks like him though. his Silver Slugger award from 2014 is also attached.

photo courtesy of @DreKnott on twittter
photos courtesy of @Indians on twitter

check out FOX Sports Ohio's youtube video for more on mini-baseball Brantley!⚾

the real Michael went 2-for-5 in the game, getting both his hits in the bottom of the 8th inning. he led it off with the Indians up just, 3-2. after an 0-1 count from right-handed reliever Cam Bedrosian, he hit a line drive single to right field. that extended Michael's on-base streaks to 17 games overall and 11 games at home. he later scored on Santana's RBI single to right field.

when Michael came to bat again, there were 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th and the Tribe had an 8-2 lead. Zimmer was at 2nd base, Lindor was at 1st, and righty Brooks Pounders was pitching. after fouling off the first offering, Michael sent a sharp line drive RBI single to left-center field. that gave him four straight games with an RBI.

Michael streaks ended on July 27 when the series versus the Angels concluded. he went 0-for-4 and had two strikeouts๐Ÿ˜ฎ in the day game. he led off the bottom of the 6th inning with the game tied at 1 and strike 3 was called on the 4th pitch of an 0-2 count from righty reliever-turned-starter JC Ramirez. the pitch sequence went: called strike, foul, foul, called strike. according to Tom Hamilton's radio call on WTAM 1100, Michael pointed at home plate afterwards as if to point out that home plate umpire Adam Hamari's strike zone was jacked up. strike 3 should have been ball 1. (skip to the 8:43 mark in this condensed game video on indians.com to see it for yourself.)

photo courtesy of @IndiansUmp on twitter

Michael's second strikeout was of the swinging variety, coming in the bottom of the 7th inning with 2 outs, Gonzalez at 3rd, Lindor at 1st, and the Indians leading, 2-1. right-hander Blake Parker had just been summoned from the Angels bullpen and after an 0-2 count, Michael swung and missed to end the inning. he had two called strikes prior to his swing, the second of which was not a strike. so he was basically forced to swing at the third pitch because the home plate ump was being an asshole and my boy suffered as a result.๐Ÿ–•๐Ÿ˜ 

and so did his on-base streak. his 17-gamer fell just shy of his season-high 18-game on-base streak and i was hoping he would break it but... nope.

Michael continued his road on-base streak, however, in the game on July 28 against the Chicago White Sox, going 2-for-5 with a single and home run. his single came in his first at bat in the top of the 1st inning with no score, 1 out, and Lindor at 1st base. after a 2-1 count from southpaw Derek Holland, Michael hit a ground ball single to center field.

then in his fifth and final AB of the night, he faced right-hander Juan Minaya with 1 out and the Indians leading, 8-2. after a 2-1 count, he hit a high fly ball to center field (423 feet via Bastian's tweet)! that gave Michael his third home run in his last six games. daaaaamn lol๐Ÿ‘Œ

photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

Michael went 1-for-4 in the game on July 29 versus the ChiSox. when he hit his RBI sac fly in the top of the 3rd inning, he set a new career high in RBI for the month of July, passing his 18-RBI record in July 2015. it came against right-hander Miguel Gonzalez with the Indians up, 1-0, Zimmer at 3rd base and Lindor at 2nd. after throwing Michael a ball, the White Sox catcher threw to 3rd to try and pick off Zimmer. then on a 1-1 count, Michael sent a high fly ball to center field that scored Zimmer, advanced Lindor to 3rd, and gave Michael RBI #19 in July. additionally, that was his 3rd sac fly of July, also a new career high.

an unfortunate call took place at Michael's expense in the top of the 5th inning. he led it off against Gonzalez with the Indians ahead, 4-3, and he swung at the first pitch, sending a line drive to right-center field that went over the fence. Michael did his home run trot and went back to the dugout because it was ruled a home run by the 2nd base umpire. except, the ball actually hit the warning track and bounced over the fence and into the stands. after the play was reviewed, it was correctly called a ground-rule double. so Michael jogged back out to 2nd base and then was left stranded. (it reminds me of the time Michael hit a ball at Target Field to the flower beds and he trotted around the bases only to be told after a review that it wasn't a home run, it was just a double. facepalm. flashback to April 24, 2011. the video link no longer works because mlb.com recently changed all their videos to a closed captioning format, so anything linked from the past doesn't work and i am EFFING MAD about it.๐Ÿ˜ )


In Indians History

Michael reached a huge milestone in his career on July 19 when he collected his 1,000th Major League hit. it came against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the 8th inning with 1 out and the Indians up, 3-2. after an 0-1 count. Michael sent left-hander Steven Okert's next offering into the left field corner for a line drive double. once he did that, Michael became just the 36th Indians player in franchise history to acquire 1,000 hits, according to Jordan Bastian's tweet. Bastian and Jonathan Hawthorne's article on indians.com also noted that Michael is one of only 87 active MLB players with 1,000 career hits.๐Ÿ“”


In The Field

this month, Michael recorded 36 putouts, 3 assists, and 1 double play in 39 total chances to give him a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in left field. as you can see, he had a great month defensively, so let me describe a few specific plays that were particularly impressive.

Michael acquired his first outfield assist of July (and sixth of the year) in the game against the Oakland Athletics on July 16. the Tribe was trailing, 4-0, in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Matt Joyce led it off. reliever Dan Otero was pitching for the Indians, as starter Trevor Bauer did not make it out of the 1st inning. after a 2-2 count, Joyce hit a line drive single to left-center field. Michael cut the ball off in the gap, catching it off the bounce. he spun around and threw a strike to 2nd baseman Jose Ramirez, who easily tagged out Joyce in his attempt to stretch a single into a double.

i was somewhat irked the next day during the July 17 game against the San Francisco Giants because Michael should have had another assist. here's what happened. in the bottom of the 3rd inning with the Indians up, 1-0. Joe Panik was at 1st base when Gorkys Hernandez came to the plate to face Tribe starter Josh Tomlin. Hernandez sent a 1-0 line drive double to deep left field, which Michael fielded and threw in quickly to cutoff man, Francisco Lindor. then Lindor fired the ball home to Yan Gomes as Panik tried to score. the relay throws were both on the money and Gomes received the ball in time. the home plate umpire called Panik out and Michael had assist #7. that is, until Giants manager Bruce Bochy challenged the call and after the replay review, it was determined that Gomes did not apply the tag before Panik got his toe on the bag and the initial call was overturned. apparently, Gomes reached his arm back to tag him on the leg and instead of coming right down on the foot because he didn't want to block the plate. Gomes admitted his mistake following the game, but it still robbed Michael of an assist.๐Ÿ˜ž

Michael did end up with his seventh assist of the season, however, five days later in the game versus the Toronto Blue Jays on July 22. and because he recorded a putout prior to his assist, that gave him his first double play of the year. it began in the top of the 9th inning with Darwin Barney at 1st base, no outs, and the game tied at 1. Jose Bautista stepped to the plate to face Indians closer Cody Allen. after a 2-0 count, Bautista hit a fly ball to deep left field that Michael caught easily for out #1. then he set himself and fired the ball in to the 2nd baseman, Jose Ramirez, who tagged out Barney trying to advance to 2nd base.๐Ÿ’ช that sequence gave Michael a putout, an assist, and a double play in his defensive statistics.๐Ÿ˜

after celebrating for a second, Michael went back to being stone cold, as you can see in this picture:

photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

on July 31, Michael got his third assist in July and eighth on the season in the game against the Boston Red Sox. in the bottom of the 2nd inning, the BoSox had a 2-0 lead with Mookie Betts at 3rd base, Brock Holt at 2nd, and 2 outs. Eduardo Nunez hit a 3-2 pitch from Indians starter Michael Clevinger fair over the 3rd base bag and down the line into left field for a double. the ball bounced off the side wall and back onto the grass, allowing Betts to score. Michael quickly ran over to field the ball and fire it in to Gomes, and Holt, who also tried to score, was a dead duck, easily called out at the plate to end the inning.๐Ÿ˜

i also have to spotlight Michael's two outstanding catches in the game versus the Los Angeles Angels on July 25. his first amazing running catch occurred in the top of the 4th inning with 2 outs and the Indians leading, 7-4. the Angels had Yunel Escobar at 3rd base and Mike Trout at 2nd base when Albert Pujols came to bat against Clevinger. on the 6th pitch of a 2-2 count, Pujols sent a liner to left. Michael ran back onto the warning track, reached his arm up as far as he could and jumped to make the catch before slamming up against the wall. he easily robbed Pujols of a 2-run double and every Tribe fan loved it.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘

photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer

and then there was Michael's diving catch in the top of the 8th inning. Ben Revere led it off against Indians reliever Andrew Miller with the game tied at 7. after a 1-0 count, Revere hit a line drive to left field. Michael raced towards the foul line where the ball was sinking fast and dove to make a remarkable catch for out #1! i admit, it was scary listening to Tom Hamilton call that on WTAM 1100, but i sure was happy he recorded the putout with no issues.๐Ÿ‘

photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

in addition, it was rated as a five-star catch per Statcast. the fielding metrics showed Michael traveled 66 feet in 3.8 seconds to get to a ball that had a 7% catch probability. i like that math.๐Ÿ–ฉ

according to William Kosileski's indians.com article, this was Michael's second five-star catch this season and it's tied for the second-lowest catch probability this season with more than 50 feet of distance needed and under four seconds of opportunity time.

"really? wow, that's awesome," Michael responded when being told of the five-star rating. "it was a difficult catch at the time, for sure. i had to dive or else i wasn't going to catch the ball. but i'm just glad that i got to do it to save Andrew Miller some pitches.

"[i was] just trying to get to the ball. it was fading down and away from me, and i was just trying to get there to make a catch for my pitcher."

"i would say in a game like this, if [that] play doesn't get made, you probably lose," Terry Francona surmised.

here's a video from indians.com with both of Michael's catches, back-to-back, for your enjoyment.๐Ÿ˜‰



now let's break down the numbers. i am going to document his July #s, the 3rd spot #s, and the DH #s, as well as the left field #s, 3rd + left field #s, and overall outfield #s.


July batting average: .286

OBP: .336

SLG: .449

OPS: .785


Michael played in 25 (of 26) games, 20 complete, in July.

he started and played left field in 24 games, completing 19 of those games, appearing in 24 total.

he was subbed out defensively in 5 games after playing a total of 34 innings (5 innings/7 innings/7 innings/8 innings/7 innings per game) because the Indians were winning a blowout and he had done more than enough in the game.

he got 1 scheduled game off.


Michael bat 3rd in 25 games.


Michael played left field in 24 games. (19 complete, 5 subbed out: 34 innings)

Michael was the DH in 1 game.

Michael played in 20 complete games.



in July, Michael had a total of 110 plate appearances and 98 at bats. here is how he fared:

28 hits

9 extra base hits

19 singles

5 doubles

1 triple

3 home runs

19 RBI

3 sac flies

17 runs

8 walks

2 intentional walks

1 hit by pitch

4 stolen bases (3 - 2nd, 1 - 3rd)

3 GIDP

12 strikeouts (8 swinging, 4 looking)

4 first at bat hits

44 total bases

51 left on base


36 putouts

3 assists

1 double play

202.0 innings, 25 games

(20 complete games)

July batting average: .286 (28-98) (25 games)


now let's break down his numbers based on where he hit in the lineup.


when Michael bat 3rd in July, he had a total of 110 plate appearances and 98 at bats in 25 games. breaking down the numbers are as follows:

28 hits

9 extra base hits

19 singles

5 doubles

1 triple

3 home runs

19 RBI

3 sac flies

17 runs

8 walks

2 intentional walks

1 hit by pitch

4 stolen bases (3 - 2nd, 1 - 3rd)

3 GIDP

12 strikeouts (8 swinging, 4 looking)

4 first at bat hits

44 total bases

51 left on base


36 putouts

3 assists

1 double play

202.0 innings, 25 games

(20 complete games)

July batting average in the 3rd spot: .286 (28-98) (25 games)


when Michael bat 3rd and played left in July, he had a total of 105 plate appearances and 94 at bats in 24 games. breaking down the numbers are as follows:

26 hits

8 extra base hits

18 singles

5 doubles

3 home runs

18 RBI

3 sac flies

14 runs

7 walks

2 intentional walks

1 hit by pitch

4 stolen bases (3 - 2nd, 1 - 3rd)

3 GIDP

11 strikeouts (8 swinging, 3 looking)

3 first at bat hits

40 total bases

49 left on base


36 putouts

3 assists

1 double play

202.0 innings, 24 games

(19 complete games)

July batting average in the 3rd spot while playing left: .277 (26-94) (24 games)

 
when Michael bat 3rd and was the DH in July, he had a total of 5 plate appearances and 4 at bats in 1 game. breaking down the numbers are as follows:

2 hits

1 extra base hit

1 single

1 triple

1 RBI

3 runs

1 walk

1 strikeout (looking)

1 first at bat hit

4 total bases

2 left on base


1 game

July batting average in the 3rd spot as the DH: .500 (2-4) (1 game)


when Michael was the DH in July, he had a total of 5 plate appearances and 4 at bats in 1 game. breaking down the numbers are as follows:

2 hits

1 extra base hit

1 single

1 triple

1 RBI

3 runs

1 walk

1 strikeout looking

1 first at bat hit

4 total bases

2 left on base


1 game

July batting average as the DH: .500 (2-4) (1 game)


when Michael played the outfield in July, he had a total of 105 plate appearances and 94 at bats in 24 games. breaking down the numbers are as follows:

26 hits

8 extra base hits

18 singles

5 doubles

3 home runs

18 RBI

3 sac flies

14 runs

7 walks

2 intentional walks

1 hit by pitch

4 stolen bases (3 - 2nd, 1 - 3rd)

3 GIDP

11 strikeouts (8 swinging, 3 looking)

3 first at bat hits

40 total bases

49 left on base


36 putouts

3 assists

1 double play

202.0 innings, 24 games

(19 complete games)

July batting average while playing the outfield: .277 (26-94) (24 games)


now let's break down his numbers specific to where he played in the outfield.


when Michael played left in July, he had a total of 105 plate appearances and 94 at bats in 24 games. breaking down the numbers are as follows:

26 hits

8 extra base hits

18 singles

5 doubles

3 home runs

18 RBI

3 sac flies

14 runs

7 walks

2 intentional walks

1 hit by pitch

4 stolen bases (3 - 2nd, 1 - 3rd)

3 GIDP

11 strikeouts (8 swinging, 3 looking)

3 first at bat hits

40 total bases

49 left on base


36 putouts

3 assists

1 double play

202.0 innings, 24 games

(19 complete games)

July batting average while playing left: .277 (26-94) (24 games)


July #s while playing left: 36 putouts, 3 assists, 0 errors, 1 double play, 1.000 fielding percentage (202.0 innings, 24 games)

July #s while playing the outfield: 36 putouts, 3 assists, 0 errors, 1 double play, 1.000 fielding percentage (202.0 innings, 24 games)



now here are my game-by-game numbers and notes.

Game 1 of 1/Game 58 of 79, July 1 (Day Game): 1-4, single. AVG: .305
[3rd/LF/CG8]

Game 2 of 2/Game 59 of 80, July 1 (Night Game): 1-4, single, RBI groundout. AVG: .304
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 3 of 3/Game 60 of 81, July 2: 1-4, single, stolen base (3rd), run, reached on fielder's choice, run. AVG: .303
[3rd/LF/GS5]

**Michael's 8-game hitting streak, 8-game on-base streak, 5-game hitting streak at home, and 5-game on-base streak at home end**

Game 4 of 4/Game 61 of 82, July 4: 0-4. AVG: .297
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 5 of 5/Game 62 of 83, July 5: 2-4, single, single. AVG: .301
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 6 of 6/Game 63 of 84, July 6: 2-4, RBI triple (first at bat), run, walk, run, single, run. AVG: .304
[3rd/DH/CG]

Game 7 of 7/Game 64 of 85, July 7: 2-4, 2-run double, run, RBI single, RBI sac fly. AVG: .307
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 8 of 8/Game 65 of 86, July 8: 1-3, RBI double, intentional walk. AVG: .308
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 9 of 9/Game 66 of 87, July 9: 0-3, walk. AVG: .304
[3rd/LF/CG9]

2017 All Star Game, July 11: 1-2, single (first at bat). AVG: .500
[4th/LF: B6-B10/6-GF(10)]

^^Michael came into the game as a defensive substitution in left field in the bottom of the 6th inning and stayed in for the remainder of the game, playing 5 total innings. (the game went 10 innings.)^^

Game 10 of 10/Game 67 of 88, July 14: 0-3, walk (first plate appearance), reached on fielding error, stolen base (2nd). AVG: .300
[3rd/LF/CG8]

Game 11 of 11/Game 68 of 89, July 15: 1-3, single (first at bat), walk, run. AVG: .301
[3rd/LF/CG8]

Game 12 of 12/Game 69 of 90, July 16: 1-4, 2-run single, stolen base (2nd). AVG: .300
[3rd/LF/CG8]

Game 13 of 13/Game 70 of 91, July 17: 1-5, single. AVG: .298
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 14 of 14/Game 71 of 92, July 18: 1-4, single. AVG: .297
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 15 of 15/Game 72 of 93, July 19: 2-4, RBI single, run, double, run, walk. AVG: .300
[3rd/LF/CG8]

^^Michael collects 1,000th career hit^^

Game 16 of 16/Game 73 of 94, July 21: 0-4, RBI fielder's choice, stolen base (2nd), run, hit by pitch, run. AVG: .296
[3rd/LF/GS7]

Game 17 of 17/Game 74 of 95, July 22: 2-3, single, double, walk. AVG: .300
[3rd/LF/CG10]

Game 18 of 18/Game 75 of 96, July 23: 2-4, RBI single (first at bat), run, 2-run home run, run. AVG: .303
[3rd/LF/GS7]

Game 19 of 19/Game 76 of 97, July 24: 1-3, RBI sac fly (first plate appearance), single. AVG: .303
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 20 of 20/Game 77 of 98, July 25: 1-5, home run, run, reached on forceout, intentional walk, run. AVG: .301
[3rd/LF/CG11]

Game 21 of 21/Game 78 of 99, July 26: 2-5, single, run, RBI single. AVG: .303
[3rd/LF/GS8] 

**Michael's 17-game on-base streak and 11-game on-base streak at home end**

Game 22 of 22/Game 79 of 100, July 27: 0-4. AVG: .299
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 23 of 23/Game 80 of 101, July 28: 2-5, single (first at bat), home run, run. AVG: .301
[3rd/LF/GS7]

Game 24 of 24/Game 81 of 102, July 29: 1-4, RBI sac fly, ground-rule double. AVG: .300
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game /25 & Game /103, July 30: scheduled day off.

Game 25 of 26/Game 82 of 104, July 31: 1-4, single. AVG: .299
[3rd/LF/CG8] 

~~Michael ends the month with an active 8-game hitting streak on the road and 12-game on-base streak on the road~~



so far in 2017, Michael has 350 plate appearances and 314 at bats in 82 games (686.0 innings). in total, he has 94 hits, 29 extra base hits, 65 singles, 20 doubles, 1 triple, 8 home runs, 49 RBI, 4 sac flies, 42 runs, 30 walks, 3 intentional walks, 2 hit by pitches, 11 stolen bases (9 - 2nd, 2 - 3rd), 1 caught stealing (2nd), 7 GIDP, 49 strikeouts (40 swinging, 9 looking), 21 first at bat hits, 140 total bases, 128 left on base, 127 putouts, 8 assists, 1 error, and 1 double play.

2017 season batting average: .299 (94-314)

OBP: .360

SLG: .446

OPS: .806


for more details about Michael's 2017 #s so far, please refer to my Brantley's 2017 #s Through July blog.


don't forget to peep my tweets @clevelandgirl23 for everything Brantley! and if you want to join my subscription list, you can enter your email address in the box underneath the Blog Archive sidebar over on the upper right side of this page. that way, you will receive email notifications when a new blog post goes live.๐Ÿ“ง

lastly, the August polls are up, so check 'em out under the About Me sidebar. what will Michael's August BA be? how many HR and RBI will he have? and how many games will the Indians win in August? vote now!✔

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