The Cleveland Indians used nine pitchers in last night's 19-inning 2-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Indians' starting rotation kept the bullpen dormant for much of their winning streak, but the arms came to life to secure the franchise-record 14th consecutive.
Winning is wonderful, but using every single available arm in the bullpen on Friday — in addition to Trevor Bauer, the probable starter for the next game — poses a problem for Saturday. Here's how the Indians plan to approach the issue:
Roster news:— 14 straight Ws. (@Indians) July 2, 2016
+ ZMac will start today
+ Shawn Morimando recalled from Akron
+ Michael Martinez designated pic.twitter.com/4UHLcR15w5
McAllister's last official start: April 10, 2015
Since then, he's posted the following stats:
|0||6||5||1||17||90.1||387||81||32||27||9||34||105||10.46||3.39||0.90||.306||81.8 %||39.4 %||9.3 %||2.69||3.37||3.74|
Like a couple of Tribe starters banished to the bullpen, is this McAllister's chance to prove he belongs in the rotation? No. This is the definition of a spot start. The man is already on the roster and even threw 27 pitches in the game last night. His bullpen role is solidified at this point, and by letting him take this spot in the rotation, the Indians do not have to move up their entire starting staff.
I'm interested to see what kind of pitch count the Indians allow McAllister. Friend of the Blog Kyle Boddy suggested 45-60 pitches at most. According to Paul Hoynes, the Indians would have preferred to start Shawn Morimando, but the travel schedule wasn't certain. My best guess: McAllister is used in the hypothetical "opener" role, going between 1-3 innings. Then, the Tribe will warm up Morimando and keep their fingers crossed that he can go the distance, allowing either Cody Allen or Tom Gorzelanny to step in if necessary. Gorzy (I'm assuming this is what Tito calls him) threw only six pitches last night, and hadn't appeared since the 27th of June before that.
How good is the Morimando kid?
First, let's just be happy he has a passport, and keeps his keys where an intern can find them. He might not have been able to make the game at all if the Rubberduck's staff couldn't track them down:
Clubhouse mgr at Akron had to get Mormimando's apartment keys to get passport. Intern brought passport to Morimando at Hopkins for flight.— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) July 2, 2016
Tribe was ready to breakdown door at Morimando's apartment to get passport. But it didn't come to that.— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) July 2, 2016
If you're willing to break into a kid's apartment to make sure he can pitch, I imagine you trust his ability to make the leap from AA to the Majors for a day. Let's hope he's not quite as dazed as Jimmy Nicol was when he replaced Ringo Starr for eight shows. So far in Akron, Morimando is 10-3 with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. He could quickly become a folk hero in Cleveland if he's able to shut down Toronto's bats the same way the Indians' pen did last night.
What's next for Michael Martinez?
Barring any injuries for the Indians' infielders, this is probably the end of the road for Martinez with the Tribe until the roster expands. Abraham Almonte can return later this weekend, which will likely move Jose Ramirez to third base and Juan Uribe to backup and pinch-hitting duties. Morimando will head back down to Akron in order to accommodate this. Things get stickier still when Michael Brantley return in July/August/September/Please feel better Michael. While Tyler Naquin continues to mash, he does so with the support of a BABIP higher than .440.
There will be more interesting roster moves for the Indians down the line. Today, a kid from AA and a reliever try to keep the streak alive for one more day.