November 26, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
32°F

Indians notes: Rotation shining for a spell

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Friday. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Friday. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND — The Indians’ rotation has picked an opportune time for a top-shelf spell.

Despite scoring only 19 runs over the last seven games, Cleveland has posted a 5-2 record, thanks in large part to effective outings from its starting pitchers, who have allowed just five earned runs over a span of 44 innings.

In five of those games, the Indians have scored three runs or fewer.

“That’s the way normal years are. Rarely do you have it really all clicking,” manager Terry Francona said. “That’s when it’s really good. We’ve played a lot of low-scoring games.”

Cleveland’s offense ranks eighth in the American League with a .254 batting average, while  scoring the fifth-most runs (534) — an average of 4.3 per game.

The rotation ranks 12th among 15 AL teams with a 4.23 ERA — the Indians posting the seventh-lowest ERA (3.73) in the league overall.

He’s the boss

Danny Salazar said all the right things, while offering high praise of Francona when asked what he thought of the manager abruptly relieving him in the sixth inning, despite the right-hander pitching a shutout and the Indians in front 1-0.

“Sometimes you want to finish all your pitches, but he’s the manager,” said Salazar, who allowed a leadoff double, then hit the following batter in the sixth — both base runners scoring off reliever Scott Atchison. “He knows the game better than me or anybody else.”

Heading back

Outfielder Tyler Holt was optioned back to Triple-A Columbus, clearing a roster spot for Salazar to start Sunday.

Holt has been called up three times, going 5-for-13 in six games for the Indians. The 10th-round draft pick in 2010, entered Sunday batting .311 with two home runs and 15 RBIs in 58 games for the Clippers.

Next up

The Indians are off today, beginning a three-game series at Minnesota on Tuesday night (8:10 p.m.).

Trevor Bauer (4-7, 4.35 ERA) opens the set for Cleveland, opposing RHP Kyle Gibson (11-9, 3.96), while T.J. House (1-3, 4.13) goes for the Indians on Wednesday (8:10 p.m.) against RHP Ricky Nolasco (5-8, 5.99).

Corey Kluber (13-6, 2.41) pitches the series finale Thursday (1:10 p.m.), while the Twins counter with RHP Phil Hughes (13-8, 3.76).

Minor details

  • Strongsville High and Kent State product, Anthony Gallas, entered Sunday leading Indians minor leaguers with 22 home runs for High Class A Carolina and Double-A Akron. A non-drafted free-agent acquisition in 2010, Gallas ranked second with 72 RBIs in 117 games through Saturday.
  • Zach McAllister allowed two runs on six hits, while striking out seven in six innings of Columbus’ 4-2 win at Toledo on Saturday. McAllister is 6-1 with a 1.95 ERA in nine starts for the Clippers, while posting a 3-6 record and 5.91 ERA in 14 starts for Cleveland.

Roundin’ third

  • Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall committed the Indians’ major league-leading 95th error, letting a ground ball get under his glove in the third inning. Chisenhall leads the team with 16 errors.
  • Center fielder Michael Bourn is 0-for-6 with three strikeouts, three walks and a stolen base in two games since being activated from the disabled list. Bourn stole his eighth base of the season in the first inning — his second since June 7.

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