CHICAGO -- Jason Kipnis has nothing against Cleveland. There is just something about playing on the road that does wonders for the Indians' second baseman's bat and he is not exactly sure how to explain it.
"It's just one of those things that just happens," Kipnis said.
Heading into Sunday's game against the White Sox, Kipnis had drastically different offensive splits for road games compared to home games. His latest tear with the bat back in his old stomping grounds has skewed the statistics even further.
Over the past two games, Kipnis has gone 4-for-7 with two home runs, two stolen bases and four RBIs. That improved his career showing at U.S. Cellular Field -- he is a native of nearby Northbrook, Ill. -- to 12-for-25 (.480) with five extra-base hits and nine RBIs through seven games. Talk about sweet home Chicago.
Kipnis' road record goes beyond Cook County, though. On the season, the second baseman has hit .363 (29-for-80) with six homers and 20 RBIs on the road compared to .202 (21-for-104) with two homers and eight RBIs at home. For his career, Kipnis has hit .325 (49-for-151) with 10 homers and 30 RBIs on the road and .225 (38-for-169) with five homers and 17 RBIs at home.
"I don't know what it is," Kipnis said. "I like playing on the road. I really do. I don't know. You like playing in front of the opposing crowd. You almost feel like there's a different mindset. You almost want to hear the boo. If you get booed on the road, that's a good thing. I've been fortunate to have good games here in Chicago.
"But I honestly don't know what it is, because I've noticed that, too. My splits at home are terrible. I try not to switch my routine up too much whether we're at home or not. I don't do too many things different. It's just one of those things that's turned out that way so far."
Brantley's catch reminiscent of Endy Chavez in 2006 NLCS
CHICAGO -- Indians manager Manny Acta did not want to go as far as saying Michael Brantley's catch in Saturday's game against the White Sox was the best he has seen in person. Acta was, after all, with the Mets for Endy Chavez's acrobatic heroics.
"I don't know, man," Acta said on Sunday morning at U.S. Cellular Field. "I was there when Endy Chavez made that catch. But, [Brantley's catch] was very good. That's as good as it gets. He was on the other side of the fence. He brought it back."
For those needing a refresher, Chavez robbed a would-be home run from then-Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen in the sixth inning of Game 7 during the 2006 National League Championship Series. Acta was the third base coach for the Mets at the time.
Brantley's display lacked the same type of stage, but it was nonetheless incredible.
With one out and two runners aboard in the first inning of Cleveland's 14-7 loss to Chicago, Alex Rios sent a pitch from Derek Lowe to straightaway center field. Brantley glided back toward the wall, readying himself to time his leap to snare the baseball in mid-flight.
"Off the bat, I was thinking I had to get back to the wall as soon as possible," Brantley said. "When I was getting close, I kind of took a glance at the wall. I wanted to make sure I gave at least the best effort I could. Once I kind of jumped, I knew I had a chance to catch it."
Brantley jumped and extended his right arm over the top of the center-field fence. The baseball dropped into the center fielder's glove and he pulled it back in to rob Rios of a three-run home run. Rios flexed his arms and shouted in frustration as he rounded first base, and Brantley got the ball back to the infield as quickly as possible.
"I was trying to get rid of it, because I knew I had it," Brantley said. "At the same time, I didn't want to smile too big because we were still in the inning. It was a good experience. It was one of the best catches I've ever made.
"Once I went up, I kind of felt my arm over the wall and I felt the ball go into my glove. I knew it didn't come out."
It might not have come during a playoff game, but it was a highlight-reel robbery.
"That was a very nice play," Acta said. "That was a legit, very nice play."
Asdrubal eyeing Tuesday or Wednesday return
CHICAGO -- Asdrubal Cabrera does not plan on missing too much time with the left hamstring injury that has kept him out of the lineup for two games. The Indians' shortstop hopes to return to the field during Cleveland's upcoming series against the Royals.
"I'll be all right," Cabrera said prior to Sunday's game against the White Sox. "I think I'll be ready for the next series against Kansas City, but not tomorrow."
The Indians open a three-game home series against the Royals on Monday, but Cabrera is not expected to be back in the lineup for that contest. The shortstop said he will go through a series of tests, including running drills and hitting, before the first tilt against Kansas City to see how his leg feels.
If everything goes according to plan, Cabrera could be back in the lineup by Tuesday or Wednesday. The shortstop said he first felt tightness in his left hamstring on Wednesday, but the injury flared during Friday's game in Chicago. Cabrera left that contest in the seventh inning and was held out of the lineup in the next two games.
"We said he's day to day," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That could probably be three to five days. That's the initial thought, so we'll see how he's doing [on Monday]. He's going to be pushed a little bit to see where he's at."
Through 39 games this season, Cabrera has hit .301 with five home runs, 14 doubles and 20 RBIs for the Indians.
Quote to note
"I thought that was amazing. I was glad there was no camera on me, because I think I jumped up in the field and then looked around and looked lost, because I was out of position. I was like, 'Oh [no], the ball's still in play! I need to be somewhere.' I was caught off guard by it."
--Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, on center fielder Michael Brantley's great catch in Saturday's game against the White Sox
• Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner has spent this weekend resting an ailing right knee back home in Cleveland. Manager Manny Acta said Hafner will be put through a series of tests prior to Monday's home game against the Royals to gauge his progress. Right now, the Tribe has not indicated that the DH might need a stint on the disabled list.
• Indians catcher Carlos Santana (mild concussion), who was placed on Major League Baseball's seven-day disabled list on Saturday, has been cleared to fly with the team back to Cleveland on Sunday night. Manager Manny Acta said Santana will be put through a series of follow-up neurological tests on Monday.
• Entering Sunday, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis was hitting .272 with a .333 on-base percentage through 46 games. Last season, Kipnis hit .272 with a .333 on-base percentage in his 36-game tour with the Tribe. "Wow," marveled Indians hitting coach Bruce Fields. "I guess you can predict what he'll do next year."
• The Indians went 10-3 in their first 13 road games this season, outscoring opponents 77-59 in the process. Entering Sunday, though, Cleveland had gone 2-5 in its past seven road games, being outscored 50-27 over that span. The Tribe's 12-8 mark away from home was still the fourth-best road record in the American League, entering Sunday's action.
• Minor League outfielder Jared Goedert went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs in a 9-6 win over Syracuse on Saturday, making him 9-for-27 (.333) with four homers and 15 RBIs in seven games since being promoted to Triple-A Columbus. Goedert hit .395 (49-for-124) with five homers and 17 RBIs in 35 games with Double-A Akron before being moved up a level.