notes: here's where i take a minute to remind everyone that when regular season games stretch into October, September and October are considered to be one month. it's exactly like when the season starts at the end of March, and March and April are combined as one month. this is done because there's not much point in having just one or two days of stats recognized by themselves in a regular season baseball month. therefore, when you see me write "the/this month" throughout this blog, i am referencing to both September and October as one month. i also used the "September/October" label in each section of this post, regardless of if the topic i'm discussing only occurred in one of the two months and not the other, to remain consistent.
i also want to address that, once again, i will be blogging about the postseason! i am going write about each
series the Tribe plays in, just like i did in 2016. for more details on that and to see what else i have planned for the blog in the early part of October, be sure to read all the way to the bottom of this post.
oh and i do apologize for the lateness of the publication of this blog. again, read the end to find out why there was a delay.😳
Michael's ankle tried to keep him out for the entire month, but you know what they say: you can't keep a good man down. like in August, Michael missed out on a few more special moments in September/October, including the entirety of the Indians' American League record 22-game winning streak. he also did not get to participate in the game that ultimately led to the clinching of the AL Central Division halfway through to month to secure the Tribe's spot in the October playoffs for the second consecutive postseason. thankfully, Michael's ankle finally healed enough to where he was able to start running on the field during the last week of the season. to everyone's delight, he was activated from the DL on September 30, after 52 days!, which allowed him to get a few at bats under his belt before the regular season concluded.
the Indians played their final 30 games of the year in September/October and Michael was lucky to play in two of them. between September 30 - October 1, Michael bat .333 (1-for-3) with one single in a pinch hit appearance. Michael's batting average for 2017 was .299, the same as it was at the end of August and at the end of July.
unfortunately for Michael, the right ankle sprain that resurfaced on August 8 continued to give him trouble for weeks and weeks. he began to run on an AlterG treadmill at the start of September, a non-weight bearing machine. after two and a half weeks or so with no progression to land running, the Tribe sent Michael to an ankle specialist who re-diagnosed him with a deltoid ligament sprain and ankle synovitis. under doctor's orders, he was back in a walking boot and had to refrain from all running for 7-10 days. once seven days passed, he began doing light running in the outfield, bypassing the AlterG. then he ran sprints and took some cuts before moving on to lateral, aggressive running, outfield drills, and base running. at the commencement of the final homestand, Terry Francona eluded to the possiblity that Michael could be activated and play in the final series, and that's precisely what happened. more details on all this can be found in my recently posted Brantley Activated from 10-Day DL, Ankle Updates (August 10 - September 30) blog.
the Indians began September in the midst of their three-city road trip, venturing to Detroit and Chicago. they swept the Tigers in four games, including a doubleheader, on the road for the first time in franchise history. they also swept the White Sox in four games, giving them a franchise record 15-game winning streak. combining this with their previous three road wins in New York against the Yankees at the end of August gave them an 11-0 record on a road trip for the first time in club history. while very happy for the Tribe, i couldn't help but be sad that Michael, like last year when he didn't play or participate in the team's 14-game winning streak, was not a part of this season's club setting record.🙁
the Tribe next had a nice long 10-game homestand for a change. it started with three games versus the Baltimore Orioles, followed by three versus the Tigers, and concluding with four versus the Kansas City Royals. after sweeping Baltimore, they swept Detroit. they finally lost, however, to KC after winning 22 straight. overall, the Indians went 3-1 in that series for a 9-1 total record at home.
following an off day on September 18, the guys headed out west to play their last six games on the road--three against the Los Angeles Angels and three against the Seattle Mariners. well, not all the guys. Michael stayed back in Cleveland to continue rehabbing, along with Lonnie Chisenhall and Brandon Guyer, who were also dealing with injuries at this time as well. in the middle of the series with the Halos, the Indians announced Michael was going to be shut down for 7-10 days with a deltoid ligament sprain and ankle synovitis. the Tribe swept LA, but could only muster two wins in Seattle lol
the Indians got one more day off on September 25 before wrapping up their season at Progressive Field with three games versus the Minnesota Twins and three versus the White Sox. they won each series with two wins, but the best news of the weekend occurred when Michael was not only activated from the DL, but also played in the final two games (versus Chicago). overall, he went 1-for-3 with a single in three plate appearances. his single excitingly came in his very first at bat since August 8, on the 10th pitch of the AB. it was vintage Michael Brantley and a pleasant sight to see.👏
right now, Michael is going to be eased into the postseason. Francona seems content with putting him on the American League Division Series roster as a bench player who will come in to pinch hit as the games dictate. that's better than being left off again, like last year.
i don't want to put any pressure on Michael, but what he does in the upcoming postseason series (and hopefully there are multiple series to be played), and whether or not his ankle continues to progress could factor into what the Indians decide to do about his 2018 club option for $11 million (or $12 million if he didn't already get his bonus money). the good news is his shoulder is fine now, which i know a lot of people were concerned with and thought might have ruined his career. well, it didn't. but now with this ankle issue having kept him on the shelf for almost half of 2017, it doesn't exactly build a strong case to bring him back as a Cleveland Indian.😕
when i wrote my "Is This Michael Brantley's Final Year as a Cleveland Indian?" blog during the offseason, i listed the questionable strength of his shoulder and other players being potential replacements as reasons for why this could be true. i did not think about him suffering another injury that would sideline him for a significant amount of time this season. never would i have thought that a freakin' ankle sprain could be the factor that makes Michael a free agent next year.😨😭
do you think the Indians should take another chance on Dr. Smooth and pick up his club option? why or why not? don't forget, he is a .300+ hitter when healthy and this ankle sprain was just a fluke... leave your opinion in a comment.
Michael Celebrates This Year's Division Clinch!
for the second straight season, the Indians won the American League Central Division! they won it around 10 pm on September 16, by way of the Toronto Blue Jays defeating the Minnesota Twins. but since the Tribe had already played and won their game versus the Kansas City Royals earlier in the day, nobody was at the park to celebrate the magic number being reduced to zero. therefore, the celebration took place the next day, on September 17, with the raising of the flag before the 1:10 pm game, and the champagne spraying party in the locker room following the game's conclusion.
here's a photo of Michael clapping with the rest of the players during Terry Francona's pregame speech:
|photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer|
once the Tribe won the game, 3-2, the players began celebrating their division clinch. the Indians provided live video on periscope via twitter. after Michael high fived and hugged his teammates, he put his 2017 AL Central Division Champs t-shirt and hat on. at the 3:25 mark, he's shown walking towards the outfield with Jason Kipnis, who kindly reminded Michael that he can't run, to throw t-shirts into the crowd.
when the party moved into the clubhouse, Michael was able to spray champagne and partake in the champagne and beer showers, unlike last year when he had to watch everyone go crazy while he kept his distance to protect his shoulder. you can see him walking around with goggles on his head and drinking champagne🍾 in this SportsTime Ohio twitter video. he's also just standing in place at the 0:10 mark of Hayden Grove's twitter video, and i believe he's in this Tom Withers twitter vid as well. see for yourself if you can spot him, like a Where's Waldo? lol
to my knowledge, Michael was not interviewed by anyone, or rather, nothing that he may have said was put in print. there aren't any solo pictures of him during the celebration either; however, here are a few pics of him in the background.
|photos courtesy of Dan Mendlik & Allison Farrand via TribeVibe|
looks like he's about to sneak up on Bradley Zimmer in the second picture lol #rookiehazing
for more details, including quotes from and pictures of other Tribe players, please refer to my previously posted The Indians Are the 2017 AL Central Division Champions! blog.
New BOPs on the Final Weekend
Michael finally bat somewhere other than 3rd this month and that was because he was used as a pinch hitter. he bat 9th in one game and 4th in the other.
Michael reached base a total of 1 time via a hit. he scored 0 runs in September/October. he was driven in 0 times versus left stranded 1 time by his teammate behind him, who happened to be Francisco Lindor.
Jose Ramirez has taken over the 3rd spot in Michael's absence. Terry Francona also moved Lindor up to the leadoff spot, while using a combination of Bradley Zimmer, Austin Jackson, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Jason Kipnis in the 2 hole this month. and that seems to have worked out quite nicely and heavily contributed to the Indians' 22-game winning streak. after those three, Tito typically had Edwin Encarnacion batting cleanup, Jay Bruce hitting 5th, and Carlos Santana following them in the 6th spot.
it doesn't sound like Michael will be anything more than a PH off the bench in the American League Division Series, in which case, he certainly won't be coming in to pinch hit for Ramirez in the 3 hole. so it's possible that his BOP may vary from game to game, but i'd bet it'll be lower in the order.
if Michael is well enough as the series and/or postseason goes on, then maybe he could start seeing some time in left field as a late inning defensive replacement. but if he gets to a point where he can start, where should he bat? can you put him back at 3rd and just trust that his smooth swing will help him quickly find his stroke at the plate again? leave your thoughts on this in the comments below!
Areas Of Concern
that right ankle. at the time of this post, Michael should be part of the American League Division Series roster, but he will be limited to coming off the bench. if the Indians don't want him playing any part in left field, i have to wonder just how healthy his ankle actually is. maybe he's good enough to run around the bases, but they don't think he's ready to break on it in the outfield and/or are worried he could hurt it again the more he runs on it.😟
Michael did not perform well with RISP and 2 outs/2 outs in an inning in September/October, which is nothing new. normally i'd give him the benefit of the doubt since he was coming back from a long DL stint, but since he's struggled in this category virtually all season, this is definitely still an area of concern.
i'm also concerned that the Indians will decide not to pick up Michael's 2018 club option, but that's not something Michael can really control. if they don't think he's worth bringing back, he can't change their minds. he proved to them that his right shoulder is good, but now after this ankle injury, who knows if they'll just want to part ways.😱
if you have any concerns about Michael going forward, share them down below!
September/October Team Batting Winner
the roster expanded by quite a bit, but the number of qualifying players was only four. the player who had the highest September/October batting average out of all the qualifiers on the team is Jose Ramirez with his .407 BA. the next closest average was .313, owned by Edwin Encarnacion.
for the third month this season, Michael did not have enough plate appearances to be considered a qualifying player. he finished September/October with a measly 0.1 PA per game, which is nowhere near the necessary 3.1. therefore, his .333 batting average cannot be ranked among the other qualifiers.
previous monthly batting average winners:
April - Jose Ramirez (.330)
May - Michael Brantley (.293)
June - Jose Ramirez (.367)
July - Carlos Santana (.325)
August - Carlos Santana (.284)
Team Leads & Career Highs
after a mere three at bats in September/October, Michael did not have any team leads and did not set any career highs for himself.
HR, RBI, LOB, K Rate, and Outs
Michael did not hit any home runs in his very limited playing time in September/October.
even though he only had three at bats, the opportunities were there for Michael to acquire some RBIs. sadly, he totaled 0 RBI and left 4 men on base this month. it's not completely surprising though when you remember that he was used as a pinch hitter who came into games with men on base in the hopes that he could bring them home, yet who also hadn't played regularly against Major League pitching in over seven weeks... it was gonna be hard for him to deliver under the circumstances, so it's understandable that he would strand runners.
with neither any HR or RBI, i certainly cannot calculate a HR:RBI ratio for the month.
Michael's K rate in September/October was 0.0% (0 K/3 PA). he did not strike out at all in his three plate appearances.
Michael hit into just two outs this month and they were both groundouts. this stays on trend, as he usually ends up with more grounders than flyouts, lineouts, or pop outs.
Streaks & Situational Statistics
Michael had a hit in 1 of the 2 games he played in September/October and reached base safely in 1 game. he had 1 hitless game and did not reach base in it. Michael had no multi-hit games, no three+ hit games, no multi-RBI games, no go-ahead hits, and no go-ahead RBI this month. the Indians were 1-1 in games that Michael played in and 25-3 in the games he missed.
Michael finished the season with a still active 13-game on-base streak on the road between July 1 - August 1. it spans over July 1-2, July 14-19, July 28-29, and July 31 - August 1.
Michael also finished the season with a still active 9-game hitting streak on the road between July 15 - August 1. it spans over July 15-19, July 28-29, and July 31 - August 1.
in September/October, Michael bat .500 (1-for-2) against right-handed pitchers and .000 (0-for-1) against left-handed pitchers. that's too small a sample size to comment on.
Michael bat .333 (1-for-3) in 2 of 16 games at home. he hit safely in 1 of the 2 home games he played in and safely got on base in 1 of them. he was hitless in 1 home game and did not reach base in it.
Michael did not play in any of the 14 games away from Progressive Field this month.
Michael hit .000 (0-for-2) with runners in scoring position in September/October. to be more specific, he hit .000 (0-for-2) with RISP and 2 outs. he did not come to bat at all with RISP and 0 outs or RISP and 1 out.
with 2 outs in an inning in September/October, Michael bat .000 (0-for-2).
additionally, he hit .333 (1-for-3) with 0 RBI with runners on base and .000 (0-for-1) with 0 RBI with the bases loaded.
Michael did not come to bat at all with the bases empty this month.
furthermore, Michael had a 0.0 fWAR (wins above replacement), a 77 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus--the ability to create runs compared to the league average), and a 0.0 BsR (baserunning runs above average with stolen bases and caught stealings) in September/October. these numbers do not rank among the 12 qualifying American League left fielders because not only did Michael not play enough to be considered a qualifier this month, but he also did not play in the field this month. [these stats all came courtesy of fangraphs.com.]
Versus AL Central Division Teams
when the Indians played the Detroit Tigers, Michael missed all 7 games--4 on the road and 3 at home--in September/October. he missed all 4 games in the road series because he was still on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain for the second time this year, but had begun running on the AlterG (non-weight bearing) treadmill. he missed all 3 games in the home series because he was still on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain for the second time and still running on the AlterG treadmill. the Indians went 7-0 in the games he did not play in.
when the Indians played the Kansas City Royals, Michael missed all 4 home games in September/October because he was still on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain for the second time this year, still running on the AlterG treadmill, but unable to run unassisted. the Indians went 3-1 in the games he did not play in.
when the Indians played the Minnesota Twins, Michael missed all 3 home games in September/October because he was still on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain for the second time this year, or more specifically diagnosed deltoid ligament sprain and ankle synovitis, but had just started some light running in the outfield. the Indians went 2-1 in the games he did not play in.
vs. the Chicago White Sox, Michael bat .333 (1-for-3) in 2 games--0 of the 4 on the road and 2 of the 3 at home in September/October. (he missed all 4 games in the road series because because he was still on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain for the second time this year, but had begun running on the AlterG (non-weight bearing) treadmill. he missed 1 game in the home series because he was still on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain for the second time, or more specifically diagnosed deltoid ligament sprain and ankle synovitis, but was doing lateral running on the field, outfield drills, and took part in BP on the field.) the Indians went 1-1 in the games he played in and 5-0 in the games he did not play in. overall, Michael had 1 single, 1 first at bat hit, and 1 total base. he also left 4 men on base. furthermore, he had a .333 OBP, .333 SLG, and .667 OPS. he was a PH in 2 games. he came in to PH in the bottom of the 5th inning in 1 game and then was subbed out defensively. he came in to PH in the bottom of the 5th inning in 1 game and then stayed in the game as the DH, which also made him the PH for DH in the game.
with just three at bats, it should be fairly obvious that Michael did not have any Top 10 league rankings in September/October.
September/October Standout Games, Spotlights, & Quotes
on September 9, the Indians hosted their annual Season Ticket Holder appreciation event after the game versus the Baltimore Orioles, where STHs got to meet with players and get autographs. here's a picture of Michael at his table:
|photo courtesy of Dan Mendlik via TribeVibe|
in a video on cleveland.com's youtube channel on September 12, i noticed something in the background of Danny Salazar's pregame interview in the clubhouse. i saw Michael's double locker, of which he normally has one side mainly empty, filled with clothes. there was also a name plate above the second side with 57 Crockett on it. due to roster expansion and overcrowding, it seems he had to share his locker with Kyle Crockett.
after the Indians won the game versus the Tigers on September 13 for their American League record-setting 21st consecutive win, Michael high fived the guys on the field, despite not playing any part in the streak:
|photo courtesy of John Kuntz via The Plain Dealer|
on September 30, Paul Hoynes addressed the following question in his morning Hey, Hoynsie article on cleveland.com: do you think there's a chance that the Indians won't exercise Michael Brantley's option for 2018?
Hoynsie replied with, "it's a delicate situation for the front office. if they decide not to exercise Brantley's $11 million option, they would have to submit an $18 million qualifying offer if they wanted to get a compensation draft pick should he sign with another team. what if Brantley accepted that offer, trying to reset his value with one healthy year before testing free agency again, when the Indians could have kept him for $11 million by exercising his option? it will be an interesting decision for sure."
in the afternoon, Michael was activated from the 10-Day DL after spending 52 days on it and missing 50 games since August 9. all the details from the beginning of his stint on the disabled list leading up to him getting clearance to return to game action can be found in my Brantley Activated from 10-Day DL, Ankle Updates (August 10 - September 30) blog.
during the game versus the Chicago White Sox, Michael's walk-up song, "Walk Thru" by Rich Homie Quan, all of the sudden blasted over the PA in the bottom of the 5th inning and i just about screamed. i knew there was a possibility that Michael would be pinch hitting and i was so ecstatic that i was there to see it for myself.
Jordan Bastian tweeted that Michael got a standing ovation as he walked to the plate. i wasn't watching the rest of the fans, i was only watching Michael and getting my camera ready to record video of his at bat. FOX Sports Ohio supplied a video of the ovation on its youtube channel though. Michael made a slight nod to the crowd as well, as Hoynsie's cleveland.com article described.
with 1 out, Yan Gomes at 1st base, and the Indians trailing, 1-0, Dr. Smooth faced right-handed starter Carson Fulmer.
|photos courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer|
it was his first at bat since August 8, and on the 10th pitch of the AB, he hit a line drive single into right field!
|photos courtesy of |
|photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter|
|photo courtesy of Jordan Bastian's Covering the Bases blog|
the pitch sequence went as follows:
pitch #1: 91.7 mph four-seam fastball, called strike, 0-1 count.
pitch #2: 88.4 mph cutter, foul, 0-2 count.
pitch #3: 92.1 mph four-seam fastball, foul, 0-2 count.
pitch #4: 87.5 mph cutter, ball, 1-2 count.
pitch #5: 87.6 mph cutter, foul, 1-2 count.
mound meeting with the catcher
pick off attempt at 1st
pitch #6: 86.7 mph changeup, ball, 2-2 count.
pitch #7: 81.4 mph curveball, foul, 2-2 count.
pitch #8: 92.9 mph four-seam fastball, foul, 2-2 count.
pitch #9: 92.9 mph four-seam fastball, foul, 2-2 count.
pitch #10: 89.0 mph cutter inside, line drive single to right field.
Michael pulled in his hands and hit the cutter 231 feet, at a 20 degree launch angle with an 85.2 exit velocity. the pitch had a 48% hit probability.
(sources: baseballsavant.mlb.com via Hoynsie's cleveland.com article and Bastian's Covering the Bases blog on bastian.mlblogs.com.)
Gomes advanced to 3rd base on Michael's hit. but then Lindor hit a grounder to 2nd that forced Michael at 2nd base. however, Gomes did score to tie the game and Michael's AB clearly set that up.😊
"how 'bout that?" Francona commended in SportsTime Ohio's twitter video. "that is, that was unbelievable. that was, that was so, that was so much, i don't know if fun's the right word, but to watch his at bat. i think Q [Matt Quatraro, assistant hitting coach] said, cause we got a lot of guys right now. they go up to the cage to hit in between innings and Q said every single guy up there stopped and watched the entire at bat. it just was a phenomenal at bat. his level of concentration and then to fire a hit in there, that was really something."
when a member of the media inquired about how his talk with Michael went before the game, Tito smiled, "we decided he was gonna hit. i kinda left it up to him. i wanted him to be comfortable, and he was obviously. so now we'll see how he shows up tomorrow and depending on how he feels, we'll walk through it again tomorrow, just like we did today."
"i thought he was moving really well," Francona remarked in cleveland.com's youtube video. "i thought he was fine, i mean, again, i know that it's, he's had limited time to run but all things considered, it seems almost miraculous to me that he's able to have the kind of at bat he had and we'll see how he shows up tomorrow."
some of Michael's teammates praised him as well, as can be found in both William Kosileski and Scott Merkin's co-authored article on indians.com and FOX Sports Ohio's youtube video. "it looked like he hadn't missed a beat, which was impressive," Kipnis stated. "but you knew he was going to go out there and give a competitive AB. he's a professional hitter, and today that's exactly what he brings to the plate and that's exactly why we're excited to hopefully get him back just in time, get him hopefully some more ABs tomorrow. but to do that and come up with that big hit, kinda tie the game at that inning, it was awesome. i was up on the railing the whole time.
"it encourages us, it's exciting. like you said, we don't maybe need more motivation. i think we're just very excited to have him back hopefully and with us. we know how he dealt with it last year, had to miss it, and we know that that's been looming in his head that he might have to miss it again this year, so to see him maybe creep back in just in time i think is exciting not only for us but for him."
"that was really exciting," Gomes exclaimed in Kosileski and Merkin's article. "he makes it look easy, man. the guy's been away for seven weeks and then comes out, gets a nice hit and battles. he was on every pitch. it's really good to see him. i know he's busted his tail to get to play in a game."
"i kind of know what he's feeling right now," continued Gomes in Bastian's Covering the Bases blog on bastian.mlblogs.com. "i was in the same boat that he was, trying to get back and play some games before going into the playoffs. i know how hard it was for him. we talked a lot during the playoffs last year. for him, it was the one time that we'd been in a long playoff run. on the field, he didn't get to be a part of it, but i know in the clubhouse, and just having him around and his knowledge around, it played a big role."
Bastian's blog also noted Michael was not available to talk after the game, but that he wants badly to be included [on the ALDS roster].
for the final regular season game versus the White Sox on October 1, Michael again was not in the starting lineup. nevertheless, Bastian tweeted he would likely take over at DH after Encarnacion got a couple at-bats, per Tito.
before the afternoon contest, Francona was asked if he enjoyed the crowd's reaction to Michael's return last night. from Kosileski's twitter pic, he admitted, "yes i did, very much. every once in a while during a season, you can sit back and enjoy it. we probably don't do it enough. because Houston had lost, you're about to (enjoy it). yeah, it was really cool. it didn't surprise me. i think people that follow the Indians know what kind of kid Brant is, his work ethic and all that kind of stuff. it was a pretty neat moment. and then as the at-bat kept going, it was really cool, yeah."
Michael also met with reporters to discuss the previous night's events. "i just told him i wanted to get an at bat," he explained in a SportsTime Ohio twitter video. "said it's just one at bat, see how it goes and we'll go from there. i was just glad that it was a longer at bat. i got to see some pitches, some breaking balls and then, you know, obviously you know i got a hit, so it made it a little bit better."
what did he think of the standing ovation? "very much appreciated. it gave me chills, it gave me goosebumps. to hear that crowd just kinda stand up and know how hard you worked to come back every time you get injured, it's just very much appreciated."
as suspected, Michael got his chance to hit again when he came in the game to PH for the DH in the bottom of the 5th inning.
|photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter|
with Jose Ramirez at 2nd base, 2 outs, and the Indians up, 3-1, he faced right-handed starter Chris Volstad. after a 1-1 count, Michael hit a ground ball to the 2nd baseman for out #3.
Michael got his second and last AB of the day in the bottom of the 7th inning with 2 outs, the bases loaded--Yandy Diaz at 3rd base, Greg Allen at 2nd, and Ramirez at 1st, and the Indians still leading, 3-1. the White Sox had just brought in left-hander Jace Fry from the bullpen and on a 2-1 count, Michael hit a ground ball to the 3rd baseman to end the inning. that had to be one of the worst case scenarios for Michael to bat in after being out for so long, because he had struggled all year with 2 outs in an inning, and especially with runners in scoring position and 2 outs, and also with bases loaded. so definitely not ideal and if this situation arises in the playoffs and he pinch hits, well, good luck.😞
Andre Knott, in-game reporter for SportsTime Ohio, grabbed Michael to do an interview following the Indians' win. i transcribed the most important parts, but to hear the entire thing, including his thoughts on the growth of Lindor and Ramirez, you can watch the video on FOX Sports Ohio's youtube channel.
how nice is it that he's been able to be out here the last two days? "it's great. it's a lot of hard work from doctors and training staff to get me back out here. we didn't know if it was possible in the short time frame that we had, but i'm back out here. i feel like i can contribute at a high level and i'm just excited to be with my teammates."
what have the words been between he and Tito and what does he expect from himself going forward? "it's all positive. we got four days though to figure it out and whatever he decides, the management decides, i'm all for it. i just look forward to being in the postseason, winning baseball games with this club and it's gonna be a fun ride. can't wait to be a part of it."
what did it mean to him yesterday when he came up and this crowd lost it and went nuts for him? "it was outstanding. it gave me chills. i appreciate it so much. i played my entire career here. i love these fans, i appreciate it, and now it's time to go get one for 'em."
Michael spoke with the media in the locker room after the game, too. in this cleveland.com youtube video, he began by answering if he was going to make the 25-man ALDS roster. "not my choice. my choice is do whatever is best for this team. if i'm on the roster, i'm gonna do my best. if i'm not, i'll be cheering for my teammates. i'm all about winning baseball games. whatever the best 25 guys they want to put out there, i'm all in support of them."
is repetition the only thing he needs at this point? there's no other hurdles to clear? "no, i mean i'm doing well. i'm very excited where i'm at. everything's been positive, trending positive. just look forward to continue to do that."
how much has he enjoyed seeing this steady climb and turn into a healthy organization? "i'm so proud to be a part of it. when i first started here, we weren't that good, it's no secret. and now we're World Series contenders, we're playing great baseball, we won 100 games, we had one of the longest winning streaks. i mean, all these positive things that we're doing, it's great. we came so far with a lot of good people that are all pulling in the right direction with a lot of great players that care about winning and care about each other. i think that's very important."
according to Hoynsie's cleveland.com article, when the notion about him possibly missing his second straight postseason with the Tribe was brought up again, Michael insisted, "that's up to management and Tito. they're going to make the best decision for this team. that's all i care about is winning games. whatever they decide is out of my control. i can get to first base, second base, third base and home. that's all i need to do and that's what i can do.
"it is what it is. i can only do so much. i'm only human. i understand i got hurt. it happens. i missed it last year. i don't want to miss it this year if i can. if i have to, i have to. all i care about is this team winning ballgames. i'll never change that attitude. it's a team first approach around here for everybody. whatever roster gives us the best chance to win, i'm all for it."
"it would mean a lot [to make the roster]," Michael confessed in Chris Assenheimer's chroniclet.com article, "but at the same time, i'll go back to the statement, it's whatever the manager decides. i'm not pulling one way or the other. i'm going to go out there and do my job to the best of my ability if i'm on there and if not, i'm going to be the biggest cheerleader i can be. i think that's most important, that we win baseball games. everyone in this locker room deserves it and so do these fans."
Bastian's Covering the Bases blog on bastian.mlblogs.com disclosed that Michael plans to take part in the optional workout on Monday [October 2] and will hit in the simulated game on Tuesday [October 3]. "i need the reps. i need to keep swinging. i think it's important to keep timing and kind of keep the flow going. i know we have some sim games. i look forward to hitting and continuing baseball activities.
"i have a lot of confidence in my ability. we have a great group of guys in this locker room that keep me positive and push for me. i worked really hard to get back. i was working on my swing the whole time. there's always going to be a bit of an adjustment period, but i feel like i can handle it."
"it was great," Michael declared of his at bat on Saturday [September 30] from Kosileski's indians.com article. "i've played my entire career here. i love these fans. i appreciate their support. it gave me goosebumps. it was a long at bat. i noticed about halfway through they weren't sitting down yet. i thought that was pretty cool. i was just glad to have that moment. it was nice."
"anytime you get a standing ovation from people you care about, it means a lot," he added in Hoynsie's article.
Lindor believes Michael will be part of the ALDS roster. "Brantley's a special player and a special teammate," he expressed in Kosileski's article. "i love Brantley. he has helped me a lot, and i couldn't be more proud of him that he has battled his way into the lineup day after day. he's going to be successful. he's going to help us in the postseason."
one last note: i was in Cleveland for the final regular season homestand, and i went to the players parking lot after the October 1 game to try and get autographs. when Michael came out, he looked sad and he was wearing a large brace on his ankle/calf. i assume his doctor told him to wear it when he's not playing just to ensure that his ankle is being thoroughly supported and so he doesn't accidentally roll or twist it while it's still regaining strength. or maybe he wore it out as sort of a decoy in order to "get away" with not signing autos and not look like an asshole lol🤔 fwiw, he did take the brace off once he got into his truck before he drove off because he clearly can't drive with it on. but at least he is permitted to drive so... yeah. that's some eyewitness news for ya.😉
In Indians History... Or Not😢
the Indians set a new franchise and American League record with 22 straight wins, spanning from August 24 through September 14. the disappointing part? Michael did not participate in any of it. in a cruel, twisted dèjá vu, it exactly mirrors last year, when the Indians put together a then-franchise record 14-game winning streak and Michael had no part in it. when people look back on the stats of this historic run and record, Michael's name will not be there, as he had nothing to do with it. even the September call up kids, Francisco Mejia and Greg Allen, got into some games and positively contributed. if this is heartbreaking for me, and it is, then i can only imagine how Michael must feel. it's like a sick joke, not so much that the team did incredibly well in his absence, but that he was injured for both streaks. i'm sure he'll keep whatever he's feeling close to the vest, but i know he's gotta be questioning why, for the second year in a row, he was unable to be a part of team history.💔
In The Field
Michael did not play in the field in his two games this month, so there are no defensive chances to report.
Captain Kipnis? Everyone But Brantley Can Play Center
because the infield of Jose Ramirez-Francisco Lindor-Giovanny Urshela/Yandy Diaz performed so beautifully together while Jason Kipnis was on the DL with a right hamstring strain, Terry Francona decided that upon Kip's return, he would be playing center field for the first time in his Major League career. that decision coincided with Bradley Zimmer's season-ending surgery for a broken bone in his left hand.
so it seems like everyone now besides Michael is allowed to play center, even to the point of converting infielders. true, Kip played center originally in college at Arizona and when he was in low ball, but still. if Michael does come back for the playoffs and plays left field, he'll have to follow the lead of Captain Kip? good grief. (food for thought: when Zimmer is back in center next year, what's gonna happen with Kip? i'll definitely explore that in my future Tribe Needs: Looking Ahead to 2018 blog.)
now let's break down the numbers. i am going to document his September/October #s, the 4th spot #s, the 9th spot #s, the PH #s, the DH #s, and the PH for DH #s**.
**because Michael came into a game to PH for the DH, the category "PH for DH" has been added into these stats. his one appearance as the PH for the DH counts for both his PH stats AND DH stats. this happened one other time in Michael's career, back in August 2015, when i initially got familiarized with this concept.
being a PH for the DH complicates a player's stats in terms of adding everything up. if you try to add Michael's PH #s + DH #s for September/October, the sum is NOT going to equal his total numbers; you'll be one at bat over his actual total and have an incorrect overall BA. i always add up Michael's #s like that to cross check my calculations. since that doesn't work here, the only way to get an accurate total is to add up his BOP #s (4th #s + 9th #s). that should clear things up if anyone was confused.
September/October batting average: .333
Michael played in 2 (of 30) games, none complete, in September/October.
he came in to PH in 2 games. he came in to PH in the bottom of the 5th inning in 1 game and then was subbed out defensively. he came in to PH in the bottom of the 5th inning in 1 game and then stayed in the game as the DH, which also made him the PH for DH in the game.
he was the DH in 1 game.
he missed 18 games while he was on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain.
he missed 10 games while he was on the 10-Day DL with a more specifically diagnosed deltoid ligament sprain and ankle synovitis.
Michael bat 4th in 1 game. (PH/PH for DH/DH)
Michael bat 9th in 1 game. (PH)
Michael was a PH in 2 games. (1 PH for DH)
Michael was the PH for DH in 1 game.
Michael was the DH in 1 game. (0 complete, PH for DH)
Michael played in 0 complete games.
in September/October, Michael had a total of 3 plate appearances and 3 at bats. here is how he fared:
1 first at bat hit
1 total base
4 left on base
(0 complete games)
September/October batting average: .333 (1-3) (2 games)
now let's break down his numbers based on where he hit in the lineup.
when Michael bat 4th in September/October, he had a total of 2 plate appearances and 2 at bats in 1 game. breaking down the numbers are as follows:
4 left on base
(0 complete games)
September/October batting average in the 4th spot: .000 (0-2) (1 game)
when Michael bat 4th and was a PH in September/October, he had a total of 1 plate appearance and 1 at bat in 1 game. breaking down the numbers are as follows:
1 left on base
September/October batting average in the 4th spot as a PH: .000 (0-1) (1 game)
when Michael bat 4th and was the PH for DH in September/October, he had a total of 1 plate appearance and 1 at bat in 1 game. breaking down the numbers are as follows:
1 left on base
September/October batting average in the 4th spot as the PH for DH: .000 (0-1) (1 game)
when Michael bat 4th and was the DH in September/October, he had a total of 2 plate appearances and 2 at bats. breaking down the numbers are as follows:
4 left on base
(0 complete games)
September/October batting average in the 4th spot as the DH: .000 (0-2) (1 game)
when Michael bat 9th in September/October, he had a total of 1 plate appearance and 1 at bat in 1 game. breaking down the numbers are as follows:
1 first at bat hit
1 total base
(0 complete games)
September/October batting average in the 9th spot: 1.000 (1-1) (1 game)
when Michael bat 9th and was a PH in September/October, he had a total of 1 plate appearance and 1 at bat in 1 game. breaking down the numbers are as follows:
1 first at bat hit
1 total base
September/October batting average in the 9th spot as a PH: 1.000 (1-1) (1 game)
when Michael came in to PH in September/October, he had a total of 2 plate appearances and 2 at bats in 2 games. breaking down the numbers are as follows:
1 first at bat hit
1 total base
1 left on base
September/October batting average as a PH: .000 (0-1) (1 game)
when Michael was the PH for DH in September/October, he had a total of 1 plate appearance and 1 at bat in 1 game. breaking down the numbers are as follows:
1 left on base
September/October batting average as the PH for DH: .000 (0-1) (1 game)
when Michael was the DH in September/October, he had a total of 2 plate appearances and 2 at bats in 1 game. breaking down the numbers are as follows:
4 left on base
(0 complete games)
September/October batting average as the DH: .000 (0-2) (1 game)
now here are my game-by-game numbers and notes.
Game /1 & /133, September 1 (Day Game): still on DL.
Game /2 & /134, September 1 (Night Game): still on DL.
Game /3 & /135, September 2: still on DL, running on the AlterG (anti-gravity) treadmill.
Game /4 & /136, September 3: still on DL.
Game /5 & /137, September 4: still on DL.
Game /6 & /138, September 5: still on DL.
Game /7 & /139, September 6: still on DL.
Game /8 & /140, September 7: still on DL.
Game /9 & /141, September 8: still on DL.
Game /10 & /142, September 9: still on DL.
Game /11 & /143, September 10: still on DL.
Game /12 & /144, September 11: still on DL.
Game /13 & /145, September 12: still on DL.
Game /14 & /146, September 13: still on DL.
Game /15 & /147, September 14: still on DL.
Game /16 & /148, September 15: still on DL.
Game /17 & /149, September 16: still on DL.
Game /18 & /150, September 17: still on DL.
Game /19 & /151, September 19: still on DL, diagnosed with deltoid ligament sprain and ankle synovitis, back in the walking boot, shut down from all running activity for 7-10 days.
Game /20 & /152, September 20: still on DL.
Game /21 & /153, September 21: still on DL.
Game /22 & /154, September 22: still on DL.
Game /23 & /155, September 23: still on DL.
Game /24 & /156, September 24: still on DL.
Game /25 & /157, September 26: still on DL.
Game /26 & /158, September 27: still on DL, started light running in the outfield.
Game /27 & /159, September 28: still on DL, ran sprints in the outfield and took some cuts.
Game /28 & /160, September 29: still on DL, doing lateral running on the field, outfield drills, and took part in BP on the field.
Game 1/29 & 89/161, September 30: 1-1, single (first at bat). AVG: .301
^^Michael did not start this game, but came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the 5th inning.^^
Game 2/30 & 90/162, October 1: 0-2. AVG: .299
^^Michael did not start this game, but came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the 5th inning. then he stayed in the game as the DH for the remainder of the game.^^
in 2017, Michael had 375 plate appearances and 338 at bats in 90 games (731.0 innings). in total, he had 101 hits, 30 extra base hits, 71 singles, 20 doubles, 1 triple, 9 home runs, 52 RBI, 4 sac flies, 47 runs, 31 walks, 3 intentional walks, 2 hit by pitches, 11 stolen bases (9 - 2nd, 2 - 3rd), 1 caught stealing (2nd), 8 GIDP, 50 strikeouts (40 swinging, 10 looking), 24 first at bat hits, 150 total bases, 139 left on base, 135 putouts, 8 assists, 1 error, and 1 double play.
2017 season batting average: .299 (101-338)
now let me refresh everyone's memory by mentioning that i don't write a "#s Through September/October" blog. instead, i always write a series of season wrap up blogs.
here is what i'll be posting after this blog:
--Brantley's Second Half 2017 #s
--Brantley's 2017 Game-by-Game Numbers & Notes
--Brantley's 2017 Batting Order Position & LF/DH/PH #s
--Brantley's 2017 Situational #s & Statistics
normally, the publication schedule for these is one every day, with the last one going up prior to the start of the American League Division Series. this year, however, a little wrench has been thrown into my plan. i was in Cleveland for the final home series, from September 29 - October 1. therefore, i didn't have time to get this September/October blog up until today, and i don't have anything else pre-written. consequently, everything is getting pushed back. in addition, i will be going to Game 1 of the ALDS series on October 5, which deprives me of yet another day of writing. regrettably, it could very well take me a good week or longer to get all these 2017 regular season wrap up posts published, which i don't like but there's nothing i can do about it. i always go to the last regular season home series, and this year that fell on the final weekend of baseball, right before the start of the playoffs. i'd appreciate your patience so that i can make sure i'm posting accurate stats and other information. thanks for understanding! you rock!🤘
looking even further ahead, following either the Indians' elimination from the playoffs or their World Series win, i will then post:
--Brantley's 2017 ALDS #s*
--the Wrapping Up Brantley's 2017 Season blog, and
--a blog about whether or not the Indians decided to pick up Brantley's 2018 team option. (this decision will be announced no later than three days after the conclusion of the World Series.)
*as the Indians advance, if they do, then i will post separate blogs for each series, ie. Brantley's 2017 ALCS #s and/or Brantley's 2017 World Series #s.
so there you have my tentative schedule going forward. i've got a lot on my plate and again, if things go up later than usual, i hope you can cut me some slack! if you'd prefer not to have to keep checking the site every day to see if something new has gone up, then you can join my subscription list. go ahead and enter your email address in the box underneath the Blog Archive sidebar, over on the upper right side of this page, and then you will receive notifications when my new blogs get published! it's quite convenient when so much stuff is going up in such a short period of time, like now!😉📧
stay glued to my twitter, @clevelandgirl23, too, for news on whether or not Michael makes the ALDS roster and if he ever gets clearance to start playing left field in any of the postseason games/series.
and don't forget to vote in my new playoff polls! predict who will win the ALDS and how many games it will last!✔