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McAllister inconsistent again; Mariners edge Indians late, 6-5

Shaw serves up eventual game-winning homer, Tribe drops last eight of 11

McAllister inconsistent again; Mariners edge Indians late, 6-5
Zach McAllister continues to be inconsistent for the Tribe, going just 3 1/3 innings Thursday night.
August 1, 2014
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CLEVELAND— As teams bolstered their rosters across the country Thursday, the Indians were busy subtracting players from their big league team, not adding them.

It showed on the field in the rubber match with Seattle.

One night after staff ace Corey Kluber went the distance for a complete game shutout, Tribe starter Zach McAllister couldn’t even make it out of the fourth inning. His early departure would end up hurting the team late.

Leading Seattle 5-4 in the eighth, right-hander Bryan Shaw (4-3, 2.94 ERA) served up what became the game-winning two-run homer to Mariners catcher Mike Zunino, as the Mariners edged Cleveland, 6-5 to win the three-game series.

“I didn’t think we could give up more,” manager Terry Francona said on why he pulled McAllister early. “You know when you go to your bullpen that early, that somebody had a hiccup and its runs.”

McAllister allowed four runs on eight hits over the 3 1/3 innings, having thrown just 12 2/3 innings over his last three starts.

“I think more or less it was not being good with the ball down,” he said. “I felt good in my bullpen and the first at-bat. It’s just a pitch-to-pitch sometimes that causes that trouble.”

Offensively, it was the Tribe that struck first against Mariners starter Chris Young in the first inning. A sacrifice bunt by shortstop Jose Ramirez after a leadoff double by Jason Kipnis set the stage for Michael Brantley. The All-Star outfielder laced a RBI single to center to put his club up one.

It would be short lived as the M’s came storming back. Knotting up the contest on a sac fly by Logan Morrison in the second, Seattle put up three runs off McAllister in the third.

Left fielder Dustin Ackley jumpstarted the inning with a two-run homer a few batters before Robinson Cano gave the Mariners another run on an RBI double, netting them a three run lead.

The Wahoos however, snuck back into the ballgame quickly the next half inning thanks to some of the same contributors. First, Kipnis raked a two-run blast out of the ballpark for his sixth homer of the season, then Brantley was at it again as well. The center fielder lined a triple off the right field wall and scored on a sac fly by Carlos Santana to tie the game up at 4-4.

McAllister exited shortly thereafter to a few boos from the 16,336 in attendance at Progressive Field. Starting the season 3-0, the Tribe right-hander hasn’t won a game since April 21.

“It’s definitely something I can work through,” McAllister said. “It’s just getting back to it.”

Indians bats let him off the hook in the seventh, taking the lead against Mariners reliever Danny Farquhar on a RBI single by Santana to grab a one run lead. Cleveland however, left the bases loaded when David Murphy grounded out to end the potential threat, costing them the game in a sense after Shaw issued the homer in the eighth.

“I thought we did a really good job, but there were some runs that were left out there,” Francona said. “We did okay offensively.”

Recording a 1.37 ERA over the first two months of the season, Shaw has struggled in both June and July, closing out the last two months with a 4.76 ERA.

The difference for him has been two major categories: walks and homers.

Allowing just three walks and no long balls in April and May over 26 1/3 innings, Shaw has surrendered 12 free passes in June and July while also serving up four homers in 22 2/3 innings.

“When he doesn’t pitch a lot, he worries about his command,” Francona said. “He almost gets too strong. For me that’s a really fine line because of how much we do pitch him, because he’s good and resilient.”

Shaw is currently tied with teammates Marc Rzepczynski and Cody Allen for second in the American League with 52 appearances this season.

Cleveland (53-55) falls to six games in back of the second A.L. wild card spot having dropped eight of their last 11 ballgames, finishing the month of July 14-12.

“Baseball is a game of ups and downs, but you want to consistent as possible,” McAllister said. “It’s not very fun to go through.”

It also wasn’t fun for players to see two key contributors leave the ballclub via trades the last two days in Justin Masterson and most recently Asdrubal Cabrera. The former Tribe shortstop who wore Chief Wahoo the better part of eight seasons was dealt to Washington for minor league infielder Zach Walters a few hours before first pitch.

“The guys that left us were key parts of this team and big influences on all of us,” McAllister said. “But the same time its baseball and it’s also a business, so things like this can happen. It’s a matter of a team being able to pull together, step and pick each other up.”

Allen remains optimistic like the rest of the team.

“We have the pieces here that we feel like we can win with,” he said. “We’re still right there within striking distance.”

Only time will tell.

Up next for Indians: Texas invades Cleveland to open up a three-game weekend series to kickoff the month of August. Danny Salazar (3-4, 4.96 ERA) gets the start in the series opener for the Tribe against Rangers right-hander Jerome Williams (2-4, 5.53 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.

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

User Comments

Bea
August 3, 2014 - 2:26 PM EDT
I know they love to give the inexperienced guys a shot, like they did last year close to this time. What are your thoughts on some pitching opportunities being promoted out of the columbus bullpen, considering all of the roster movement?
Possible 40-man spots open?
yourtribe
August 1, 2014 - 1:52 PM EDT
Zach needs another pitch and hit some corners. A low 90 fastball over the plate time and again don't work.

Agree on seeing Carlos more. Why not?

Was never a Lonnie fan. Let's see if he can get something going again. If he can't at least 275 why keep him? Below avg glove and speed.

We better see a lot of kids in sept
C L Who
August 1, 2014 - 12:32 PM EDT
McAllister appears intent on pitching himself out of the rotation. Look for House and/or Cloyd to be getting some starts soon.

Our manager seems intent on forgetting that Carlos Carrasco is out there in the pen waiting to shut down the opponent. Shaw has been inconsistent of late and IMO CC would have been the better option by far.
shy
August 1, 2014 - 11:37 AM EDT
Yup, McAllister made his living in Triple A and when he first came up throwing ground balls. He just isn't sinking the ball the way he used to. The fastball velo is good, but he's throwing too many of them up in the zone. The Shaw pitch was a mistake. Shaw either didn't do his homework on Zunino or he had command issues and didn't exectute- most likely the latter since he was threw almost as many balls in one inning as Kluber did in an entire game. There seems to be an intermittent focus factor issue w Shaw. Antonetti could have gotten Tommy Milone from the A's- good lefty. The Indians will now have to face him w the Twins.
Joe Chengery
August 1, 2014 - 9:49 AM EDT
Both McAllister and Shaw need to show improvement in command pitch selection (and location too- I knew Shaw threw a meatball, even though I didn't see the pitch live- that's what's burned him, plus the fact Zannino is a mistake hitter).

I don't know if Chisenhall is getting tired or what or isn't fully over the virus. I think we all expected a little dropoff from his hot start, but needs to stabilize and start hitting again. He's not striking out that much, but is hitting a lot of weak balls with two strikes- needs to get back to the good approach he had when he was staying on the pitches and driving them. I don't know if he's afraid he won't get the close call with two strikes and be called out, though I think he was getting some positive recognition around the league for better plate discipline, so he probably would get some calls. He has had some good at-bats though that have drained the pitcher, including that 13-pitch at-bat a few weeks ago, so even with the dropoff, he still has shown good improvement, more so than most people thought when the season started. He still has had a far better season than Kipnis as well.

Kipnis hitting another HR is nice, but he needs to be a LOT more consistent with his offense, since his defensive value is essentially nil, especially against Ramirez's defense. I'd still look to move him to the OF long-term, which would help with one of two potential holes out there (Brantley being the only long-term piece, provided you can move Bourn, say, in the offseason, and Raburn/Murphy is not a long-term answer, and probably isn't even the answer for 2015 either). That would also help to have Lindor and Ramirez be on the field together next year, along with Kipnis, and having Lindor/Ramirez up the middle would be a lot better defense than Lindor/Kipnis.

Rich
August 1, 2014 - 7:33 AM EDT
McAllister continues to throw 70% fastballs - all at waist level. The sacrifice fly (which was actually a line drive), the 2-run homer, and Cano's RBI double were all on fastballs. He threw seven straight fastballs to Cano. Finally Callaway came out and told him to knock it off and throw some breaking balls. So he threw six breaking balls in a row and retired two batters to end the inning.

Somebody needs to smack this guy upside the head and tell him he can's survive in this league throwing 70% high fastballs. His ERA is 5.94. What part of 5.94 doesn't he get?

24 out of his first 30 pitches were fastballs. There's a reason he gets hammered the second and third time through the order. He just keeps throwing the same pitch. And it's not that great a pitch.

The next time he starts they need to call a mix of fastballs and breaking balls, and not give him the option of shaking anything off. Just throw the pitch that's called, Meat. What he's doing now is simply not working.

It was great to see Kipnis flash some power. But I'm getting tired of Chisenhall chasing bad pitches with two strikes on him. He's taking a page out of Cabrera's book of hitting - when you have two strikes, swing at everything. He needs to emulate Santana and Brantley, who aren't afraid to take a close pitch with two strikes.

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