The Cleveland Indians are going to get another piece of their original starting rotation back on Thursday, as pitcher Zach McAllister has fully recovered from his low back strain and will start for the team against the Los Angeles Angels. McAllister will take the place in the rotation of T.J. House, who was sent back to AAA Columbus.
McAllister went on the disabled list oddly enough after three of the worst starts of his career. He took losses in two of the three, and in the third lasted just two innings before getting pulled allowing five runs to the Detroit Tigers in an eventual Indians 11-10 win in 13 innings.
In those last three starts before the DL, McAllister went a total of 7.2 innings, allowing 18 runs on 18 hits with five walks, five strikeouts and four homers. What was alarming was not just how bad he was on the mound, but how quickly he went from being solid at the start the year to being totally ineffective.
In McAllister’s first four starts of 2014, the 26-year-old was solid, earning wins in three of the first four outings. He threw 23.2 innings in the four starts, allowing just six runs, 21 hits, seven walks and 17 strikeouts. In those four starts, he didn’t allow a home run.
Things started to go haywire for McAllister during his outing Apr. 30 against the Angels, as that game he gave up five runs on four hits in just 4.1 innings. He’s never gotten back to the form of those first four starts, and the Indians need him to in a hurry. He’ll get his shot on Thursday, and if he gets off to a tough start, the team does have options, but they are counting in a big way on McAllister.
Only he will be able to get past his problems, and try to regain that form of Apr. Thursday will tell a lot if he’s back to that form of two months ago.
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