October 30, 2014

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Indians notes: Reliever Nick Hagadone on track this season

Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Nick Hagadone throws against the Minnesota Twins on July 23 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Nick Hagadone throws against the Minnesota Twins on July 23 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

CLEVELAND — Indians fans normally cringe when relief pitcher Nick Hagadone enters the game, but a closer look reveals the left-hander has actually been pretty effective this season.

In 15 appearances on the big league level, Hagadone has allowed just three earned runs over 11⅓ innings. He’s been especially effective since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus for the fourth time this season, allowing just a run over his last 10 games.

He’s looked like a different pitcher than the erratic and inconsistent one Cleveland fans have come to know since he was acquired in a trade with the Red
Sox in 2009.

“Hags has been a huge part of what we’re doing now. That’s really exciting to see,” manager Terry Francona said. “I think he’s pitching with confidence. He’s working ahead. He flips that breaking ball. Because he throws so hard, he leverages it downhill. It’s really tough (for hitters) to do anything.”

Minor ailment

Yan Gomes (neck soreness) did not start for the second straight game, but he delivered a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning and an intentional walk in the 11th. Francona said he expected the catcher to return to the lineup tonight.

Gomes has flourished since the All-Star break, batting .418 (23-for-55) with seven doubles, three home runs and 13 RBIs in 17 games. He entered Sunday leading American League catchers with 43 RBIs, while ranking second with 13 homers and 32 extra-base hits.

Old man Atch

Though he takes a lot of ribbing from his teammates and manager over his age, 38-year-old right-hander Scott Atchison has been a serious contributor to Cleveland’s bullpen this year.

Atchison, who has been pitching professionally since 1999, has appeared in 47 games for the Indians this year, posting a 5-0 record and 2.76 ERA. He ranks fourth in the AL with only three of his 26 inherited runners scoring.

“The guy’s dealing,” closer Cody Allen said. “He’s thrown a ton of innings for us. He’s here for a reason. He’s a big part of this team, because he’s very good.

Next up

The Indians play their next four games against intrastate rival Cincinnati, hosting a two-game series today and Tuesday, before traveling to Great American Ballpark for another two-game set.

Corey Kluber (11-6, 2.61 ERA) opens the series tonight (7:05) in Cleveland, opposing All-Star RHP Alfredo Simon (12-6, 2.84), while Josh Tomlin (5-7, 4.77) starts for the Indians on Tuesday (7:05 p.m) against All-Star RHP Johnny Cueto (12-6, 2.05).

Danny Salazar (4-4, 4.45) starts the series opener in Cincinnati, while the Reds counter with RHP Mat Latos (3-3, 3.07). T.J. House (1-2, 4.09) goes for Cleveland in the series finale Thursday (7:05 p.m) against RHP Homer Bailey (8-5, 3.89).

The Indians own the all-time edge (44-41) in the Battle of Ohio, going 26-18 against the Reds at Progressive Field.

Minor details

Newly acquired middle infielder Zach Walters is fitting in nicely in Columbus.

Sunday he was 3-for-5 with two home runs — one a grand slam — six RBIs and three runs in a 9-4 win over Pawtucket.

The night before he drove in the game-wining run with a single in the 11th inning of a 2-1 win at Pawtucket.

Walters, acquired in a trade with the Nationals for Asdrubal Cabrera, is 7-for-14 with a double, two home runs and eight RBIs in his first three games with the Clippers.

The other trading deadline acquisition, outfielder James Ramsey, who came to the Clippers from the Cardinals for Justin Masterson, has gone 1-for-13 with six strikeouts in his first three games.

Roundin’ third

  • Zach McAllister was optioned to Columbus during the game. The right-hander was designated for assignment as a procedural move Friday.
  • Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus has hit safely in all of his 25 career games at Progressive Field, batting .396 (36-for-90), which is the highest opponents’ batting average in the history of the park. Overall, Andrus has hit safely in 44 of his 45 career games against Cleveland.

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him @CAwesomeheimer on Twitter.