Second baseman Jason Kipnis has been through a lot since being selected by the Cleveland Indians in the second round of the 2009 draft and receiving the callup to MLB in 2011. He has had struggles at the plate, in the field, and with injuries. He has had great successes including a historic hitting month in May of 2014. He has been on struggling teams such as 2012, and he was part of the 2013 team that made the AL postseason. But, Jason Kipnis has not been part of an Indians team that has won the AL Central division.
So, more than halfway through the regular season, Kipnis and the Indians are enjoying the fact that they are in first place in the American League Central standings and stand as one of the best teams in the MLB. They love it so much that they have been scoreboard watching since Game 1 of the season and have loved every bit of doing so, per cleveland.com's Paul Hoynes.
"I've been scoreboard watching since April 10. It's so much more fun doing it when you're looking down instead of calculating if these five teams lose then we can get to the wild card."
Although the team lost 12-2 to the Tigers in the series finale Wednesday afternoon, the two-time All-Star further explained how much better it is now that they are in first place, while the other teams in the division continue to fight to reach the top.
"We're in the thick of things and it's fun. It's fun to get out to a lead right now. You're not going to see any coasting or contentment from our team. We've got the right attitude about it. Guys are excited. Guys are going all in on this. You don't want to look back and think you didn't give everything you had when you had that one chance to be in first place."
The 29-year-old has a .267/.327/.432 slash line with 16 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs, and 46 RBIs. He has also stolen five bases while only being caught stealing just once. Although Kipnis has had his fair share of struggles, but he won't let that get in the way of celebrating every victory the Indians record.
Part of the reason why Cleveland currently holds a 6.5-game lead in the division just under a week before the All-Star break is because outside of the Minnesota Twins, the club has dominated the AL Central.
- vs. White Sox: 7-2
- vs. Tigers: 11-1 (first loss was Wednesday)
- vs. Royals 6-4
- vs. Twins: 2-4
The second baseman admitted that the Indians take it to another level against division foes, which has played a key factor in why they have dominated the Central so far this season.
"I don't know if we take it to the next level when we play Detroit, the Royals and the White Sox because we know they're behind us. We know we have to win games in our division. We've just had good games in our division."
While Kipnis and the Indians are enjoying being atop the AL Central standings right now, hopefully they carry this momentum throughout the rest of the season to march towards October baseball.