Zach McAllister And A Fan Scorned


Jul 12, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach McAllister (34) wipes the sweat from his head after giving up a run in the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Zach,

I can’t do this anymore. I’m not going to let you toy with my emotions any longer. After everything you’ve put me through the past couple years, I’ve had enough.

Don’t get me wrong, the good times are great. Like this past April, when you posted a 3.82 ERA over 33 innings with a 28:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio? It was fantastic. And when you followed that up on May 5 by shutting out the Minnesota Twins over 6.2 innings, striking out eight and walking only one? It was incredible. It’s times like those where I can imagine us conquering the entire American League together.

But those glimmers of hope are always followed by disappointment. Disappointment like I felt the rest of May, when you made three starts and gave up 17 earned runs in 7.2 innings, including eight runs in 1.1 innings against the Athletics. I just don’t understand how you can go from being so unreliable one moment to being so terrible the next.

It was your back, you said. It was suggested that maybe some time apart would do us some good. You could work your way back to full strength in the minors, and I could work on managing my expectations. Then things could go back to the way they were before.

And you did come back, and for a little while things were good. You came back on July 12 to be exact, and gave up just three runs over seven innings against the White Sox. Sure maybe you only struck out two hitters, but I ignored it. I was just happy to have you back healthy. Things stayed good in your next start too, when you allowed just one run over 5.1 innings against the Tigers, a team you’ve typically struggled against.

This all got me thinking. Were you really back? Could I finally count on you to be there for me every fifth day?

It turns out I could not. Two more poor outings later, and you were back in the minor leagues. This time not because you were injured, but because you couldn’t be trusted to take the ball every fifth day.

But you did come back. You always do. And yet again this time was different. This time it was as a reliever. And you were great at it. In 19 September innings upon your return you posted a 2.84 ERA mostly in relief work with a start against the Huston Astros thrown in there. You struck out 20 batters and walked only two! I never thought you had that in you.

So here we are at the end of the season and I’m not sure what to think. You might point to your 3.45 FIP and .332 BABIP in 2014 as a sign that it wasn’t all your fault. You might point to your career 2.45 K/BB ratio and 3.93 FIP as evidence that things were never as bad as they may have seemed.

But the problem is that once trust is lost it’s exceedingly difficult to get it back. I’ve found other guys that I trust more than you right now. I’ve always trusted Corey more than you, but now it’s Trevor, Carlos, and T.J. too. Heck, I even trust Danny more than you.

As if that wasn’t enough, you’re about to be arbitration eligible, which complicates matters even more. Sure, it won’t be that expensive to keep you around in 2015, but what about 2016 and 2017? And unless something changes, I can’t even imagine us being together still in 2018, your last year of arbitration eligibility.

Perhaps it’s my fault. Maybe my expectations are too high. Maybe I should just accept you for what you are: a mediocre starting pitcher who can eat innings at the back of the rotation.

But I want something more, and I’m as uncertain now as ever before whether or not you’re the guy who can give it to me.

We’ll try again next year though. You’ll probably come into spring training competing for the fifth starter role. You’ll probably make a handful of starts, some good and some not-so-good. Maybe you’ll find a home in the bullpen. Your stuff does play up in that role after all.

But right now, I can’t count on you to be a starting pitcher. I still hope you’ll prove me wrong.

Until next season,

Scorned Tribe Fan