For Jason Kipnis, simple is better

Updated: August 12, 2011, 11:15 AM ET
By Buster Olney

The security personnel who work in baseball warn all young players about what might happen after they emerge in the big leagues, about the people who will try to connect with them. And Jason Kipnis has gotten a feel for this over the last couple of weeks -- the notes sent by folks who say they know him from years gone by, the folks who wonder if he's related to the Kipnis clan of New York, the folks who ask him for something.

He has made an immediate impact for the Cleveland Indians, after being promoted to the big leagues on July 22. The home run he hit on Wednesday night was his sixth in the 64 at-bats he's had in the big leagues. He's had bursts of power like this in the past, he said on the phone Thursday. "They come in bunches," Kipnis said. He might go 0-for-20, and then he'll hit five homers in 10 games. "It's nice, because that's what might be part of a streaky hitter."

The common denominator for his hot streaks, he feels, is when he can clear his mind. "I try not to think at all," said Kipnis, who has strived to keep everything simple. After being called up from the minors, his thought was that the fastballs he would see in the majors were at the same velocity he had seen in the minors; it's the same game with the same objective.

Just see the pitch, and react, and in his recent hot streak, Kipnis has hit fastballs and he has hit breaking balls, with power. Kipnis had five hits in five at-bats on Wednesday night, and in the midst of that, Tigers catcher Alex Avila complimented him, telling him that he was putting nice swings on the ball.

Kipnis scored a run for Cleveland on Thursday night, coming across home plate and pumping a fist -- but on this night, Justin Verlander was better, picking up his 100th career victory, as Michael Rosenberg writes.