Cleveland Indians starter Zach McAllister took it upon himself to make sure the team’s bullpen would be well intact for their second game of their Wednesday doubleheader at Progressive Field against the San Diego Padres. All McAllister did was throw maybe the best game of his career, going 7.2 innings, not allowing a run on five hits in the Indians’ 2-0 victory to improve to 5-3 on the young season. The Indians’ third starter was dominant, which is exactly what the team needed as they get set for a last game with the Padres before heading on the road for seven big AL Central games against the Chicago White Sox and then the rival Detroit Tigers.
McAllister threw 99 pitches on the afternoon, 70 of which were strikes, which is a staggering amount for the pitcher who last season went 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA in 24 starts. The outing was very much like his other scoreless outing last season against the Oakland A’s back on May 7 of 2013 as that day he went 7.2 innings, not allowing a run on five hits, a walk and four strikeouts. The pitcher said he didn’t compare his outing against the Padres to that game last season. “No it’s a different year, I felt like this year I have a little bit better stuff than I even had last year and I was just able to have a good mix today and be aggressive in the strike zone,” McAllister said.
The Indians are expecting big things from McAllister in 2014. He cemented his spot in the rotation much like he did in 2013 with a solid spring, and as the middle man in the five-man rotation, he showed what he can do when he’s aggressive with his change-up and fastball. “Felt good I felt good coming out of the bullpen,” McAllister said. “Was able to pretty much get ahead of hitters and they were aggressive so that was in my advantage as well.”
When McAllister is good like he was against San Diego, he can be as good as any pitcher on the roster. Problem is now in his third year with extended time at the Major League level he’s just 16-18 with an ERA over four, showing that he still has a ways to go in order to be the solid pitcher the Indians need in the middle of that rotation. Wednesday though was clearly a good step in the right direction.