Eleven final thoughts after what was FINALLY a normal game at Camden Yards.
1. Indians manager Terry Francona isn’t ready to say that rookie left-hander T.J. House is taking Zach McAllister’s place in the rotation, even if the list of probable pitchers the Tribe sent out Friday has House starting again Wednesday in Chicago against the White Sox. But the Indians don’t have many other options after McAllister was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a lower back strain.
2. They could recall right-hander Danny Salazar from Triple-A Columbus, but the timing would have to be right. Salazar pitched Tuesday for the Clippers and gave up five runs on six hits with three walks in 2.2 innings.
3. When Francona was asked before House made his major league starting debut Friday if he’d get more than one turn in the rotation, Francona said, “You’ve got to have five starters. I don’t know that we can forecast the future. The kid’s got one major league inning. Depending on where our bullpen is, some of that could be out of his hands, too. We’ll go day by day.”
4. After the game, Francona was a little more encouraging about House. Asked if House would get another start, Francona said, “Yeah, but I don’t know that we make our rotation … things happen along the way. But that’s the intention, yes.”
5. So will the seven members of the House family (including House’s 7-month-old niece) who rented an SUV and drove 15 hours from Mississippi to Baltimore pack up and head to Chicago next?
6. Francona said House, 24, a 16th round draft pick in 2008, needs to learn American League hitters. “As you learn the hitters and learn the league, he has enough there to win and to be successful,” Francona said. “There were times, like (Nick) Markakis (who went 4 for 5), he didn’t get in enough to him and he’s such a good hitter, he kept going to left field.” But Francona liked House's poise and way he pounded the strike zone.
7. House did his part to help rest a tired bullpen, which pitching coach Mickey Callaway said before the game the Indians desperately needed. House lasted six innings. “My goal was to go as long as I can. I think that was one thing they needed a lot tonight was someone to go deep,” House said. “I did the best I could.”
8. In an almost-scary scenario, Francona said before the game that House was going to the next man in if the Indians hadn’t beaten the Orioles in 13 innings Thursday.
9. At first the right knee injury of Nick Swisher and the sore left knee and right toe that shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is battling didn’t seem significant, especially since Cabrera managed to play eight innings Thursday. But when Francona said unsolicited, “I don’t think either one of them are DL candidates, especially at this point,” that was a surprise.
10. What will it take for John Axford to get his job back as closer? I’m not sure I can decipher Francona’s pre-game answer. Axford pitched a scoreless 10th inning Thursday, giving up one hit and striking out two. “I don’t want to rate every time he goes out there, I don’t think that’s fair. Every outing is a little bit different,” Francona said. “When Ax gets to the point where he’s really pounding the zone, I think you’ll see a big difference, a lot cleaner innings. At this point if he isn’t throwing all strikes, he’s still got good stuff. If you walk a couple you can go bail it (perhaps he meant him?) out of an inning. That’s kind of how we feel about it.” Even if he did say him, I'm not clear on whether Axford is making strides or not.
11. What was the bus ride back to the team hotel like following the Indians’ second consecutive 13-inning victory Thursday? “Everybody was tired, quiet,” right-hander Bryan Shaw said. “Some of the guys took their Red Bulls, whatever to get more energy. When we ended in the 13th, a bunch of guys were wired and ready to go.” I'd bet there was some 5-Hour Energy involved, too.