On Friday afternoon, some basketball player named LeBron James announced his return to Northeast Ohio to play professional basketball. In the same vein, Zach McAllister triumphantly returned to the mound in Cleveland on Saturday afternoon to play professional baseball. If you remember, McAllister was last seen surrendering hit after hit after hit to the Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, and Detroit Tigers, and has largely been an afterthought in the major league rotation since.
McAllister returned to Cleveland to face the Chicago White Sox, who do have a capable lineup. Zach managed to go 7 innings allowing only 3 ER, which is a huge victory for him considering his previous three starts encompassed 7.2 innings and 17 earned runs (ouch). Unfortunately for McAllister, the Indians offense forgot to get out of bed this morning. Result of the baseball game aside, this was actually very encouraging for McAllister — his lone big mistake was a two-run bomb to Jose Abreu, who is quickly proving himself to be one of the premier power hitters in baseball. I don’t have a ton of confidence in Zach going forward (I would put him below TJ House on the organizational depth chart at this point), but I definitely wouldn’t want Austin Kearns back for him, either.
The offense couldn’t do a whole lot against Chicago starter Scott Carroll, managing only two base hits in five innings against the right-hander before he was removed, possibly due to injury. The team did manage three hits against former Indians farmhand Zach Putnam, but that only amounted to a single run (forced in on a walk, no less) through seven innings.
To get through the eighth inning, Francona burned through Hagadone, Atchison, and Kyle Crockett to get three outs. On one hand, it was effective in keeping the Sox off the board, but on the other hand I hate the incessant pitching changes that have become commonplace in baseball.
Michael Brantley led off the bottom of the 8th with his 15th HR of the season (that number is still incredible to me — I never thought he’d touch 15 HR in a full season let alone before the All Star Break) which cut the White Sox lead to one, but this was as close as the Indians would get.
Recent call up Austin Adams came in to pitch the top of the 9th and promptly put the game out of reach. He gave up three runs on only a third of an inning, and the Indians ultimately fell 6-2.
The loss puts the Tribe once again one game under the even water mark, but a win on Sunday would send them into the All Star break right at .500.
In the bottom of the 7th, the Indians benefited from replay for the second day in a row, but this time in a bizarre fashion. With Lonnie Chisenhall on first, Yan Gomes hit a sinking liner to left that Dayan Viciedo caught on a short hop. The umpires, however, ruled that he caught it on the fly.
Because the ruling was overturned by replay, Chisenhall was awarded second base even though he definitely would have been forced out at 2nd base had the call been made correctly in the first place. I don’t know what else baseball could do with the rules here, I just found this to be an interesting quirk of the replay system.