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Indians, McAllister shutout Athletics 1-0

Tribe starter gives Cleveland their eighth win in their last nine games

Indians, McAllister shutout Athletics 1-0
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CLEVELAND--It was starting pitching that was the question mark coming into the 2013 season, and yet, it is that same starting pitching which continues to give the Indians strong, dominant victories of late.

On the right arm of starter Zach McAllister, the Tribe shutout the Oakland Athletics Tuesday night, 1-0. It was the team’s eighth win in their last nine games, moving Cleveland two games above the .500 mark with a 16-14 record.

The 25-year old McAllister was simply brilliant in his 7 2/3 innings of work, as he blanked Oakland hitters to just five hits while walking one and striking out four.

“He is learning so fast,” Francona said of McAllister. “When you tell him something, even in passing, he takes it into the game. The game is not speeding up on him at all. He executes pitches and we felt that way leaving him out there late in the ballgame.”

McAllister is now 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA at Progressive Field this year. More importantly, the right-hander continues to throw first pitch strikes, as he started 18 of his 28 batters he faced with strike one.

“I was able to get ahead of hitters and when you do that, you feel like you’re in a pretty good rhythm,” McAllister said. “I feel for the most part I’ve been on a pretty good roll. Hopefully I can keep it going have that same mentality the next time.”

Locked in a scoreless battle in the fifth, the Tribe would take advantage of a throwing error by Oakland first baseman Brandon Moss that moved Carlos Santana in scoring position to lead off the inning. Three batters later, catcher Yan Gomes delivered on a deep sac fly to center field to put the team up by one.

It would be the same one unearned run that the Indians would cling to as the game headed into the top half of the ninth.

Having not saved a ballgame since April 22, closer Chris Perez would get some much needed help by his backstop. With one out and Oakland centerfielder Yoenis Cespedes on first, Gomes fired a strike to second base to throw out Cespedes trying to steal.

“It was one of his better throws,” Francona said. “He came out like he wanted to throw him out. Anytime you see one of your guys make one of their better plays, at that point in the game, it’s exciting.”

Perez then stole the show striking out Moss to give the Tribe the win, as the closer notched just his fourth save of the season.

“For save situations, it’s been a few and far in-between for me,” Perez said. “But there’s nothing I can do about that, we’re playing good ball.”

Indians starters have taken a liking to their rookie backstop, as the team is now a surprising 5-1 with a 2.39 ERA in Gomes’ last eight starts behind the plate. When the catcher plays, the Tribe also improves to 10-2.

“He’s pretty eager to take in everything,” Francona said of his catcher. “We saw that in spring training. Even with a lack of really catching a lot, he’s really grasped understanding that his job is to get the pitcher through the game.”

It was the offense that would take a backseat  in the ballgame, as the Tribe collected just five hits off Athletics starter Tommy Milone. The left-hander would shutout the Indians through the first four innings before Cleveland roughed him up enough to squeeze the one unearned run off him for the tough-luck loss.

There would be no mention of a lack of offense on Tuesday, as the talk of the game continued to center around the great starting pitching performance by McAllister.

Coming to the Tribe back in 2010 from the New York Yankees for outfielder Austin Kearns, McAllister has already become a leader in the eyes of his skipper.

“I told him this winter, one of your goals should be when you take the ball, our team feels like we’re going to win,” Francona said. “And that’s how we feel.”

Cleveland starters over their last nine games are 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA. Francona will take pitching at any dispense.

“I’ll take it for about four years,” Francona said jokingly. “We didn’t do a whole lot offensively. We had the sac fly and you yet hear the music playing. When you pitch, you give yourself a chance.”

Perez also agreed with his manager.

“We knew coming out of spring training what we would have to do to be a successful team,” the Tribe closer said. “We knew we had a pretty good offense on paper, we knew our bullpen should be fine, it was just the starters. We needed one or two of them to step up, and I think Mac has definitely done that for us.”

Notes: The Indians move to 13-2 when scoring first….The team also improves their record to 6-1 on current homestand....Tuesday marked McAllister’s longest scoreless outing of his career....McAllister threw 73 of his 111 pitches on the night for strikes.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

User Comments

Tony
May 8, 2013 - 5:08 PM EDT
Gomes is earning his keep and making it hard for the Indians to keep Marson around. That said, if and when Marson returns, Gomes will likely still be sent to Columbus. From a long term perspective, I am fine with that, as he looks like a long term catching solution at least as a backup for the next 6 years beyond this season. So in order to make sure he is best prepared I think getting him as much of an opportunity to finish himself off is best.....so if he goes to CBus for another 2-3 months I am fine with it. That said, I think at some point this season he replaces Marson full time and Marson is traded or just optioned out....and at worst Marson is just non-tendered in the offseason. Marson will not be back next season unless something happens to Santana or Gomes between now and then.
Jim Berdysz
May 8, 2013 - 4:08 PM EDT
I don't necessarily think 10-2 when Gomes plays or the sub 2.50 ERA when he catches is a fluke at all. He just brings with him a different feel to the game when he's behind the plate in my opinion. Tribe starters must agree with it too as they have been completely dominant when Gomes catches this season.

Some pitchers like to have personal catchers with them every 5 days...while I don't think Gomes will cling onto one starter and catch all his starts, I'm all in favor of getting him more playing time just to see if he can remain consistent.

You are definitely right though when you say it's time to move on from Lou Marson as the Tribe's backup. Gomes is way better at the plate in terms of both power and contact, and honestly I think he would give Lou a run defensively as well.

With all the versatility, talk about a great problem to have for sure! When playing 162 game season, Tito and I think the fans will love that on this team. Everything seems to be going right for the Tribe lately, from the starting pitching to the offense to the bullpen, things are finally starting to click at the right time as the summer weather sets in!
Steve
May 8, 2013 - 10:50 AM EDT
I say leave Gomes behind the plate as much as possible. I think with more experience he becomes a much better defensive catcher than Santana.
Play Santana at DH or first base to keep his bat in the lineup.
That one move gives them the ability to give Swisher, Reynolds, Bourn, Stubbs, Brantley, Raburn, Kipnis, Cabrera and Santana a day off when needed.
Wow! Too many good players on this team and not enough positions to put them in. WHAT A GREAT PROBLEM TO HAVE!!
Matthew
May 8, 2013 - 9:08 AM EDT
Yes, it can. Catcher ERA is not a significant stat. It's a fun stat to throw around but it has never been shown to be predictive.

Don't get me wrong. Gomes is a nice catcher, and I'm excited about him. I was very supportive of the club's decision to give him reps everyday at AAA, but now I firmly believe that the team needs to move on from Lou Marson. Lou is a great guy and I really hope he catches on somewhere else, but Gomes is just a superior option for the Tribe, and he's ready right now.

I still can't believe we got McAllister for a 3-month rental of Austin Kearns. He is really starting to look like a middle of the rotation guy.

I know people like to rip on Shapiro/Antonetti, and the Lee/CC/Ubaldo trades have all been tough, but many of the smaller deals throughout the years have more than made up for some of the blunders.
-McAllister for Kearns
-Cabrera for Eduardo Perez
-Choo for Broussard (You could basically argue that we got Choo AND Bauer/Stubbs for Broussard)
-Gomes and Aviles for Esmil Rogers
-Perez for Mark DeRosa
-Santana for Casey Blake
-Masterson and Hagadone for V-Mart (I know some will say the jury is still out on this, but I think it is already a big win.)
-Scotty Barnes for Ryan Garko

If only this organization could figure out how to draft pitching. 8 different pitchers have made a start for the Indians this year. We didn't draft a single one of them.
Rich
May 8, 2013 - 8:33 AM EDT
The Tribe is 10-2 when Gomes plays? The team ERA is 2.39 when he catches?

Wow.

Can that be a fluke?

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