September 20, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
70°F

Not a bad start: Indians pitcher Zach McAllister proving to be a quick study

In Zach McAllister’s three losses, the Indians have scored five runs.

McAllister

Swisher

Let’s see. How should McAllister react to this kind of support? What doesn’t kill him makes him stronger?

Manager Terry Francona hopes so, because he has been impressed not only with McAllister’s performances, but also his ability to catch on to new concepts.

“He grasps things so quickly, even during games when he’s on the mound,” Francona said. “Things from controlling the running game to being aware of certain situations. He gets it. And he gets it fast.”

McAllister hasn’t dominated lineups, but he has kept them from mounting sustained rallies, as indicated by his 3.52 ERA.

Keep in mind that he has yet to spend a full season in the big leagues, though he made huge strides last year. McAllister knows he can be successful, not just because he believes it, but because he’s gotten hitters out consistently.

Of his season to date, he said: “I’m satisfied for the most part. A couple of innings have hurt me. I haven’t had that great game that I’m expecting, but I haven’t that real bad one, either.”

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McAllister isn’t a finished product. On his immediate to-do list is this: “I need to keep my pitch count down,” he said.

It’s for the team

Nick Swisher would rather play first base or play right field, but not both.

Yet the makeup of the roster requires Francona to move him from one position to the other to get everyone involved.

“I don’t think he’s crazy about it,” Francona said. “But he does it as a team player. It allows Jason Giambi to get some games at DH and other players to get off their feet.”

Slowly but surely

Since returning from a minor injury, Jason Kipnis is 5-for-22 in five games.

That qualifies as a mini-slump for most hitters, but Kipnis has struggled all season, and a .227 average over a short span of games might indicate progress.

“I’m getting there,” Kipnis said. “I don’t feel like I’m chasing pitches anymore and swinging at the wrong ones.”

Kipnis had a fitful spring training at the plate, but he doesn’t think that is a factor.

“Not many people think about spring training once it’s over,” he said. “I was done with it the last week of camp.”

Farm facts

  • Trevor Bauer gave up two runs, five hits and struck out eight in five innings, as Columbus defeated Scranton-Wilkes Barre 5-4 in Class AAA. Tim Fedroff homered and doubled.
  • Shawn Morimando (1-2, 1.80 ERA) gave up two runs, three hits and two walks, but Carolina lost to Potomac 2-0 in Class A.