CLEVELAND: Zach McAllister made his last start of the season one that he can tuck into his pillow case and sleep peacefully on all winter.
In 6⅔ innings Sunday against the Royals, he gave up three runs and five hits, as the Indians pounded out a 15-3 win at Progressive Field.
Easy enough to pitch when your team is behaving like the Terminator at the plate, but that’s not exactly the scenario McAllister was facing.
For four innings, the Tribe held a 1-0 lead. Over that span, McAllister allowed only one hit and a walk while he waited for run support. In the fifth, he got it, with the Indians scoring 10 times.
“That was definitely nice to watch,” he said.
The victory gives McAllister a 6-8 record and 4.24 earned-run average in 22 starts. The Tribe is 10-12 when he starts, an indication that he has kept the team in contention.
McAllister began the season in Triple-A, but it became clear early that the Indians were not going to get through the season with the five starters who broke camp in spring training.
“I’m definitely happy to finish on a good note,” he said. “In the minors if you don’t have your best stuff, you can get away with hit. Up here you better be able to be consistent and learn to pitch. Like today, I didn’t feel like I had that late zing on my fastball.”
Former manager Manny Acta and his successor, Sandy Alomar, pointed out that McAllister’s growth as a pitcher is partly due to his inclination to work hard physically.
“I work out a lot in the offseason,” McAllister said. “I like to run and lift. I think it helps me a lot during the season. It’s not a hardship for me, because I enjoy it.”
In his rookie season last year, McAllister made four starts, including two in September. But he goes into this offseason with much more confidence.
“I’m a lot more excited,” he said. “Instead of relying on four starts, I have a whole body of work to look at this year.”
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at http:/www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.