Without Two Key Lefties, Indians Have Bullpen Questions

CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) ­– Andrew Miller’s recent trip to the disabled list with right patella tendonitis presents many questions.

For many fans, the first question has been, “if Miller has been treated for tendonitis for a month, why was Joe Smith the only addition at the trade deadline?”

That question has merit, especially given that lefty Boone Logan is on the shelf for “likely the remainder of the season,” according to the team. For the time being, 27-year old Tyler Olson is the team’s lone left-hander.

Olson has appeared in just four games with the Indians to date, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless with four strikeouts in that stretch.

While Terry Francona would like to have a matchup lefty to go to in times that warrant them, but has to manage Olson’s development as well.

“We’d like to give Tyler some opportunities,” he said. “We also don’t want to just overwhelm. That’s not developing.

For now, Francona is content on using his right-handers to get the job done.

“With our righties, they’ve been through it before,” he added. “They can do it. Missing a guy like Andrew, that’s a lot to miss. We have guys who can do it. The hope is that when Andrew comes back, the guys who have worked in the meantime, it’ll be good for them and make us better.”

One of the men who could be used in those key roles, especially like Miller had been, is closer Cody Allen. Francona admitted that he has talked to his closer about using him earlier in games with an opportunity to bridge gaps between the starter and the 9th inning.

“We might not just wait to get to Cody,” Francona said. “If Cody’s our best option in the seventh or eighth, sometimes those innings are harder than the ninth. The good part is that they are all willing to do it. So we’ll piece it together a little bit more than we have before.”

In 2017, Allen has thrown 1 1/3 innings in the 7th, and seven innings over 8 appearances in the 8th, allowing a combined six hits and five walks in 37 plate appearances.

The Indians have at least caught one break with their bullpen in that the team’s rainout in Boston on Wednesday and Corey Kluber’s complete game on Thursday have the ‘pen to rest up for a full two days.

“Any day you can win and stay away from guys throwing at this time of year is important,” the manager said.

Coming into Wednesday’s rainout, the bullpen had pitched 16 1/3 innings in their last three games.

The ‘pen will receive some reinforcement in the form of Mike Clevinger who, with the team’s off day on Monday, will shift out to the bullpen for the next ‘five to seven days’ according to Francona.

More from Alex Hooper | 92.3 The Fan
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