The Cleveland Indians have not reached the postseason since the 2007 season. However, if we continue our winning ways for the final four games the Indians will either clinch the second or first wild card spot in the American League. This is a huge improvement over the Indians second half collapse of last season. So, who and what are the reasons for this year’s success? The answer to that question is Terry Francona, Jason Kipnis, and Michael Brantley.

Terry Francona was named the new manager of the Cleveland Indians on October 6th 2012. Francona is in the first year of a four-year contract to manage the Cleveland Indians. He was previously the manager of the Boston Red Sox were he won two World Series titles. He was the manager of the 2004 Red Sox that broke the “Curse of the Bambino.” Francona is very well respected throughout the major leagues and commands respect from all players. The Indians are a young team and Francona being the manager is a good mix because the young players can trust him. Not only does the trust make it easier to play but also Francona has the unique knack of getting the best out of his players. Also, you can see the players trusting Francona’s process and ideas for the team. One major example of this is Mike Aviles being downgraded from an everyday starter to a true utility man, yet his production has been the same as last year. Francona is originally from the Cleveland areas as well because his father was a Cleveland Indian baseball player as well. Francona is the perfect fit for this team on the verge of success and may be able to lead them to the promise land known as the playoffs.

Jason Kipnis is the other key factor for the Indians’ success this season. He is the starting second baseman for the tribe as well as the 3rd batter in the order. Kipnis is also one of the two Indians named to the American League All-Star team. Jason Kipnis played his college baseball at Arizona State University before transferring to the University of Kentucky before his sophomore season. Kipnis was drafted by the Indians in the second round and was the 63rd overall pick. He hails from Northbrook, IL. Kipnis is one of the hardest players in the major leagues and gives it 110 percent every time he steps between the white lines. Former Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta gave Kipnis the endearing nickname of “dirtbag” because his uniform is always dirty after a game. Baseball is the longest season of any of the major sports, so being durable and dependable is something every team needs and Kipnis is the epitome of durability.

Michael Brantley is a left outfielder for the Cleveland Indians. He was a seventh round draft pick for the Milwaukee Brewers. We acquired him when we decided to trade C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers. Brantley started playing for us when Grady Sizemore went out with an injured knee in the 2010-11 season. He has made many improvements this year; which can be seen in his speed and his leadoff hitting. Brantley’s speed helps him on the base pass as well as covering his position in the outfield. Also, he can hit at any spot in the batting order. These are skills that have made him a very important player this season and a huge contributor to the Indians success. Brantley has played extremely well this season batting .288 on average. He also has 10 home runs and 73 RBI’s (runs batted in).
These three contributors to the Cleveland Indians will help us win when we play in the postseason this year. Let’s Roll Tribe!

-Dalya Oprian

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