Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley is known by many fans as “Dr.Smooth.” After yet another huge hit in the Indians’ 6-4 win over the Oakland A’s on Wednesday night, he may want to think about a new nickname – “Mr.Clutch.”
Brantley was the spark plug in the Indians’ second win of the season, and his clutch hit in the 9th inning could not have come at a better time, as he made up for an error which allowed an A’s run to score in the 7th inning to take a 4-3 lead at the time. The error was a rare one for Brantley, as it was his first since June 3, 2012 against the Minnesota Twins.
But Brantley, who inked a long-term deal this offseason with the Tribe, responded in true clutch fashion, smacking a two-run single off A’s closer Jim Johnson. The hit gave the Indians a 5-4 lead in their eventual 6-4 win to move the Tribe to 2-1 on the young season. “Just being there for my team was great,” Brantley told the Plain-Dealer. “My team did a great job getting on base. It’s a big situation to come up in, but it doesn’t happen without the guys getting on.”
Brantley coming through with the game on the line is nothing new. Last season with runners in scoring position and two outs, he hit .364, going 24-for-66 with two doubles, two triples, a homer and 29 runs batted in. Those numbers were impressive enough for the Indians to be convinced to hand him a four-year deal worth $25 million. If the Indians are going to contend in 2014, there’s no doubt they will need more big hits from Brantley like Wednesday night. He’s one of the biggest and most important bats on the team. Wednesday night he proved it once again.