CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – When the Indians began the 2012 season, right-hander Zach McAllister wasn’t in the plans for the starting rotation.
After an outstanding spring, Jeanmar Gomez beat out McAllister as the Indians fifth starter.
On May 7th, McAllister was summoned from Triple-A Columbus to fill-in for the injured Josh Tomlin, for a month-long stint in which he went 1-1 with a 3.96 ERA in four starts.
Tomlin returned on June 25th, and McAllister was optioned back down to Columbus, but it wasn’t long before he was back with the big league club.
McAllister was recalled to Cleveland on June 28th to take the place of struggling Jeanmar Gomez. “Z-Mac”, as the team calls him, has been lights out ever since.
“He continues to impress every five days here. He was terrific tonight. He was as good as I’ve seen anybody here despite the three runs, which came on homeruns.” Manager Manny Acta said after Saturday night’s outing.
Since McAllister’s second stint with the team this season, McAllister is 3-1 with an ERA of 2.70 in five starts. He’s 4-2 with a 3.21 ERA for the season.
McAllister says his confidence is growing with every start.
“The more the starts you get up here and the more time you get, the more confident you’re going to get with what you have. My last outing was a battle for me, so confidence definitely came from that. This outing today, I felt good, and I thought I had good command.” McAllister said.
With the inconsistencies of the starting rotation looming, it’s somewhat surprising that the Indians most solid starter is a 24-year old rookie who didn’t even make the team out of spring training.
“It’s a pleasant surprise. He’s been our most consistent guy since he’s been up here and it’s something we’re looking forward to every five days,” Acta said of McAllister.
“He’s attacking the strike zone and being very aggressive. I was expecting a couple more guys to be pitching better than him because of their experience, but he has been our most consistent guy as of late so I am very happy about the progress he has made.”
The team will have to make some decisions about the starting rotation in the near future, now that Roberto Hernandez (formerly known as Fausto Carmona) will be returning to the team possibly as early as August 11th.
Josh Tomlin and veteran Derek Lowe have really struggled as of late.
McAllister has given the Indians solid outings all season, and despite his rookie status, he’s shown why he deserves to keep his spot in the starting rotation.