CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Another rough start by a Cleveland Indians hurler has the team shuffling more pitchers in and out of the Major League roster after the club’s third straight defeat.
Following Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Minnesota Twins, the third straight defeat at the hands of the American League Central’s last-place club, the Tribe optioned pitchers Cody Anderson and Shawn Armstrong back to Triple-A Columbus.
Both pitchers were forced into action during the 13-5 loss to Minnesota after starter Trevor Bauer lasted just 2 2/3 innings in the ballgame, giving up eight runs, seven earned, yielding eight hits and five walks in his shortest outing of the 2016 campaign.
The bullpen has been used heavily over the past three games, as Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco and Bauer have all been beaten up by the hot Twins bats. Over the first three-games of the four-game set, Cleveland has been outscored 35-16.
In that stretch, the starters have tossed just 8 1/3 innings and posted a 22.68 ERA.
“We’ve had to log what, 21 [bullpen] innings or something the last three nights? We’ve got to get some help here,” manager Terry Francona said.
Armstrong was brought up earlier on Wednesday, replacing Austin Adams on the 25-man roster. Armstrong gave the Indians two scoreless innings of relief and was the only Tribe hurler to not allow a run on Wednesday night.
For his efforts, he was offered a ticket back to Triple-A Columbus, as he was sent out to make room for righty Mike Clevinger, who will take the mound for Cleveland in Thursday’s series finale against Minnesota.
The need to insert Clevinger in the rotation stems from Salazar’s recent trip to the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation.
In addition to Armstrong, Anderson was a causality of the rough few days for Tribe pitching. The righty allowed two runs on three hits in 2 1/3 innings on Wednesday night and was optioned back to the Minors following the game.
Taking his spot on the roster, the Indians recalled lefty Ryan Merritt from Triple-A Columbus, the club announced on Thursday morning. Merritt was originally scheduled to start Thursday night’s game for the Clippers, but with the Tribe’s pen wearing thin, his presence should provide some insurance.
However, a good start by Clevinger could help hold off the hard-charging Detroit Tigers and provide some relief to the heavily taxed pen.
“What we don’t want to do is allow this to multiply and get into our bullpen,” Francona said. “It’s why we had to make two roster moves tonight.
“I feel bad for that because I hate sending kids down when things don’t go right, but we have to protect our arms. Losses hurt, but if you couple that with then guys pitching on fumes, that’s never going to help. So we tried desperately to find ways not to do that.”