The day after I wrote about Yan Gomes being the best catcher in the American League, he was struck in the mask and may have suffered a concussion, and a couple hours after I wrote about Corey Kluber being on the best roll Tribe fans have see in decades, he made his worst start in months, and so it seems possible that within minutes of me posting this, an alligator will leap from a nearby puddle and rip Cody Allen's arm off, but I'm going to say it anyway:
Cody Allen is awesome.
Like many Indians fans, I have a troubled relationship with the closer. Jose Mesa isn't the only person responsible for what happened in Game 7 back in '97, and he probably isn't even the person most responsible, but I've been weary ever since. Danys Baez, Joe Borowski, Kerry Wood, and Chris Perez had their moments, but none really ever put me at ease about the 9th inning though. Earlier this season, John Axford didn't make me feel good either.
Something is changing though, and the change keeps getting bigger and bigger as the season goes along, because Cody Allen has been tremendous, posting a 1.84 ERA, with a great strikeout rate and solid walk and home run rates too. In some ways though, those fantastic numbers sell him short, if we're talking about the job he's done as closer.
Allen's numbers since May 30th, when he took over as closer: 0.84 ERA, 11.69 K/9, 2.51 BB/9, and only two home runs allowed in 32.1 innings. Hitters are batting .123 against him!
There was some talk around these parts a couple weeks ago that the Indians should look to move him back to more of a setup type role, both because it might lead to higher-leverage innings, and (more significantly, to those in the conversation) keep his salary from climing through arbitration.
Well, he's not eligible for arbitration until 2016 anyway, but even if he were headed there next season, I wouldn't care. I can't put a price on the absence of bile in the back of my throat when I watch Allen take the mound with the game on the line. I don't know how to describe the new feeling that's replaced the one I knew for most of my life, but I don't ever want it to go away.