Francona Riding 4-Man Rotation On Vital Road Trip

The Cleveland Indians open up a two game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the desert tonight. Indians Manager Terry Francona has decided to proceed with a four man rotation for the time being. The way that the Indians’ schedule falls during this road trip allows for the team to use a short staffed starting rotation and keep them on regular rest. The Indians sent Zach McAllister back down to AAA Columbus and called up Vinnie Pestano following last Wednesdays rain out against the Los Angeles Angels. McAllister had been on the disabled list since May 22 and made two rehab starts in Columbus before he was prepared to make his return when Mother Nature put things on hold. Francona was primed to start McAllister despite LHP T.J. House’s solid run as McAllister’s replacement in the rotation. In regards to the decision to go with a 4 man rotation for now, Francona said “This way we can keep Zach on his regular turn (in Columbus) and T.J. (House), who is already down there, is on his regular turn.”

The Indians will go with Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin and Justin Masterson. Masterson gets the ball tonight against Diamondbacks’ Lefty Wade Miles. Both Masterson and Miles have struggled this season and both have improved of late. Over Masterson’s last five outings, he has posted a 3.28 ERA while holding opponents to a .221 average and a .326 slugging percentage. In his last start, Masterson subdued a precarious Angles lineup only giving up four hits and one run in 7 innings of work. Miley(3-6, 4.62 ERA) is also on the upswing, posting a 4.21 ERA through 4 starts in June while striking out 30 and walking just 6 batters. He went 7 2/3 innings in his last outing against the Brewers while surrendering just 3 runs and striking out 8.

The Indians called up RHP Vinnie Pestano for the first time since early in the season. Pestano was a key cog in the back end of the Tribe bullpen before an injury derailed him. Pestano has been sharp in two appearances since his return. “I got into a little bit of a groove down there. I found some mechanics that were consistent and repeatable and I just tried to keep doing that,” Pestano said. “I got into a spot where right when I got down there and we started dissecting everything and really trying to figure out what the problems were, and it ended up being more than a couple.” If Pestano could even regain some of his former efficiency, he could be a huge help in an extremely thin Tribe bullpen. Francona has consistently gone to the same three guys in big spots and with Cody Allen now filling the closer’s role, another trustworthy arm that Francona could go to would be invaluable. Francona will ride his four starts and carry an extra arm in the bullpen for the length of the road trip. The Indians know they can’t afford subpar starts on this trip, so they will lean on the 4 guys they trust for the time being.

By: Brad Ward

Follow @CST_BradWard on Twitter

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