Beacon Journal sports writer
NEW YORK: To nobody’s surprise, the Indians optioned Jeanmar Gomez back to Columbus on Monday and called up left-handed reliever Scott Barnes.
But Barnes (or another reliever) will be returning to Triple-A on Thursday, when Gomez was scheduled to face the Orioles at Camden Yards. Instead of Gomez, it will be Zach McAllister making his second trip of the season to the big leagues.
The Tribe has no intention of giving up on Gomez, who is only 24, and impressed manager Manny Acta and General Manager Chris Antonetti from the outset of spring training through May 19, when he made his last effective start, against the Marlins.
Since then, he has been a different pitcher, but a pitcher whom the Indians’ organization feels has a future in the majors.
“It’s about consistency in each game and consistency every five days,” Acta said. “It’s about being aggressive in the zone with his fastball and getting more consistency in his delivery when he is in the stretch.”
After putting on a dazzling show of consistency in spring training, Gomez compiled a 5-3 record and 3.19 earned-run average in his first eight starts of the season. But in his last six outings he struggled, posting a 1-5 record and 7.92 ERA.
One symptom of Gomez’s ailment is this: In his first eight games, he allowed two home runs in 42? innings; in his last six outings, he permitted eight homers in 30? innings.
In McAllister’s first stint with the Tribe this year, he posted a 1-1 record and 3.96 ERA in four starts. His forte has been throwing strikes. He walked only four in 25 innings (striking out 22), and 66 percent of his 405 pitches were strikes. McAllister allowed only one homer.
Like Gomez, McAllister is 24. He made his major-league debut last year but has had only eight major-league outings.
At Columbus, McAllister is 5-2 with a 2.98 ERA in 11 starts.
“They said he’s throwing the ball well down there,” Acta said.
Inasmuch as McAllister’s latest promotion is open-ended, it will be his best chance to prove that he belongs in the big leagues.
“This is not going to be a one and done deal,” Acta said. “And he came up earlier and threw the ball well.”
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.