It’s a little early to say I told you so, but back in February I detailed why Zach McAllister was a breakout candidate this season. And through four starts this season, McAllister has more than lived up to these expectations.
Monday night’s performance against the Royals was McAllister’s third straight victory and his third consecutive quality start, as he’s allowed just three earned runs in 19 2/3 innings during the streak.
Brantley also continued his hot start to the season with another home run, his fourth of the year. With Brantley’s continued success this year, sooner or later Francona has to considering moving him up in the lineup. We’re only three weeks into the season, but there’s only so much of Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn flailing away at the top of the lineup we can take (although Swisher was 2-4 tonight).
I’m not sure how to quantify this, but it just feels like Brantley puts together quality at-bats more often than anyone on the team, even when they ultimately result in an out. I would fully support swapping Swisher and Brantley, even if it’s just a short term plan until Swisher gets back on track.
Other thoughts and notes…
- Jason Giambi made his season debut, going 0-4. It was a tough start, but it’s nice to see him back out there.
- Lonnie Chisenhall continues to stay red hot with two more hits, and Francona needs to find ways to keep him in the lineup. Santana’s versatility could be key here, allowing Chisenhall to play third base and DH, while Santana rotates between third, catcher, first and DH.
- With the win, the Tribe improves to 4-6 against the AL Central. They have yet to win a series against a division opponent, but they’re off to a nice start against the Royals.
- How good is Alex Gordon in left field? Of all the opponents we see on a regular basis, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s the best all-around defender. He made two nice plays to stop the Tribe from adding to the lead in the 8th inning.