Cleveland Indians’ pitcher Zach McAllister will make his first start since the infamous “Balk-Off” win against the Detroit Tigers on May 21st. In that game, McAllister only pitched 2 innings while giving up 5 runs on 5 hits. The Indians placed McAllister on the 15-Day DL after that game. T.J. House was called up from AAA Columbus to fill out the starting rotation while McAllister was on the shelf.
House was forced to make some important starts for the Indians. House was 0-1 with a 4.88 ERA in 5 starts. House took the hill several times when the team was going through bullpen depth issues and was able to provide some quality starts and gave the Indians a chance to win. At times, House flashed the ability to perform at a high level. He displayed excellent control and the ability to work quickly and effectively. He also seemed to get better with every start as he showed that he could pitch in and out while changing speeds and exhibiting a plus slider.
I am disappointed to see House go because I think it is important to have a left handed pitcher in the starting rotation. So many teams play platoons at several positions that starting a left hander can often get a team out of rhythm. It forces the opposition to alter their lineup and it turns switch hitters around to the other side for a night. It was one thing to start 5 right handed pitchers when there wasn’t a quality left hander available but House has the mental make-up and the stuff to be that guy now.
My concern with McAllister is that he wasn’t really injured he just struggled so badly that they had to do something other than run him out their every fifth day. In his last six starts, McAllister has a 9.51 ERA. In his last three starts it’s an enormous 18.69 ERA and in his last two starts, he has a 35.10 ERA. He only was able to pitch a total of only 3 1/3 innings in those two games. McAllister allegedly had a lower back strain, however in his post-game comments after his last start he was quoted saying “I feel fine and my stuff was there…If my stuff wasn’t there, it would be more frustrating. But my stuff is there. It’s a matter of executing better.”
If Zach McAllister said he felt fine and that he had his stuff working then he wasn’t injured. Let’s hope that he was able to figure things out during his stint on the DL because we have seen what kind of a pitcher he can be. The problem though is if he is still struggling, then what? I don’t think the Indians can give him multiple starts to get right considering he isn’t really coming back from an injury. I think the Indians give him two starts and if he still is in a tailspin then the Indians have to recall House to the starting rotation.
By: Brad Ward
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