Roster Update: In last night’s post-game we postulated that Vinnie Pestano’s appearance would be a test of sorts, to see if he would be the one sent down when Michael Bourn returns. It turns out it was a test, but the Indians didn’t wait for Bourn to make a move. Pestano was sent to AAA before the early game with C.C. Lee returning to the Tribe after just four games away since his last time on the roster.
Player of the Game
Zach McAllister had, by far, the biggest improvement during his second time through the rotation. He had trouble throwing strikes in his first appearance against Oakland, leading to four walks in four innings and three runs allowed. Worst of all, he seemed unable to induce ground balls, normally a trade mark for him. Today, he was on target, throwing 70% of his pitches for strikes on the way to 7.2 shut out innings and six strike outs. McAllister allowed just five hits today, although three were doubles. His final POG score was 8.78 with the win.
The Indians two through five hitters went 0 for the game last night, and the team scored eight runs despite them. Tonight, it was those same hitters who broke the scoreless game in sixth inning. Nick Swisher was safe on an error and scored on Jason Kipnis’ first home run of the season. Carlos Santana followed with a walk after which, Ryan Raburn doubled. This gave the Tribe two hits in just one inning by the same batters who couldn’t reach base the night before.
Zach McAllister came out of today’s game after just 99 pitches in the eighth inning after giving up his first two singles of the game. With two runners on, Cody Allen came into the game and struck out Seth Smith looking to end the inning. This has been a common theme early on for Indians relievers. Ten times a pitcher has left the game with a runner on base and each time the next reliever has gotten through the situation without the run scoring. This is an often overlooked stat as it doesn’t affect the new pitcher’s ERA, but it is even more important as these are often high leverage situations.
A manager is always looking for long start in the first game of a double header and the Indians got more than they ever could have asked for from McAllister. Only Allen and John Axford were needed to finish the game, facing just six batters between them. This saves the bullpen so the second game can be managed just like any normal game, with the entire bullpen available. Newcomer C.C. Lee should be especially fresh as he pitched just two games with Columbus before his recall, while Scott Atchison, Blake Wood and Bryan Shaw haven’t pitched since Sunday. This may be more important than usual as Trevor Bauer has yet to show he can go deep into a game at the Major League level.
The Indians won the series and will go for the sweep tonight behind a magnificent start by McAllister. The Indians had hits, walks and a home run while playing nice defense. The win also moves the team into a first place tie with Detroit, although it is far too early to really worry about standings. There was nothing negative about this game.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 2 – San Diego Padres 0
Up Next: Stick around, game two featuring Trevor Bauer and Robbie Erlin will begin shortly.