MLB Cleveland Indians

How Long Can The Cleveland Indians Wait For Zach McAllister To Return To Form?

Cleveland Indians Zach McAllister

Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians already altered their starting rotation on Friday with the move to send Danny Salazar to Triple-A Columbus Clippers for prospect Trevor Bauer. Now after another awful start against the Oakland A’s on Friday night, the team might have to start thinking about options with their No. 2 starter in the rotation, that being Zach McAllister.

What started like a fairy tale quickly turned into a nightmare for McAllister. He struck out the side in the first, only to have one of the worst innings any Indians pitcher has had in quite some time in the second in the eventual A’s 11-1 win over the Tribe at Progressive Field. In the second the A’s sent nine batters to the plate before McAllister was pulled, as he gave up a grand slam, a three-run homer, and eight runs total and turned the game into a laugher for the A’s.

On the night McAllister went 1.1 innings, allowing eight runs on five hits, walking three, striking out three and giving up two monster home runs. It was the shortest outing of McAllister’s career and his ERA after the awful outing jumped from 3.88 to 5.36.

“I left balls over the middle and I was behind, they did damage,” McAllister said after the start.

The season started so well for McAllister, as he went 3-0 to start the year and things seemed to finally be falling in place for him. Now in just his last two starts, he’s given up 13 earned runs on 13 hits in going just 5.2 innings combined in the two outings. It’s those types of numbers that could force the Indians to eventually do yet another change to the starting five if McAllister’s meltdown continues.

Indians manager Terry Francona said that he told McAllister during the game to look at his numbers, both good and bad, and remember just how good he can be. Earlier in the year it looked that way after the team went 4-0 in his first four starts, three of those wins for McAllister. His best outing came April 9 against the San Diego Padres at home when in 7.2 innings he allowed just five hits with no walks and seven Ks in an eventual 2-0 Indians win.

If the bad starts continue to outweigh those good outings like earlier in the year, there’s no doubt that Francona and GM Chris Antonetti‘s hands will be tied and the team will again have to make some type of move in their starting rotation involving McAllister.

Matt Loede has covered the Cleveland Indians for 20 years for National Networks like AP Radio, Metro Networks and other local and national stations. Follow him on twitter @mattloede.