Cody Allen Thriving in Andrew Miller’s Shadow
Andrew Miller casts an imposing shadow. But for the Cleveland Indians in the postseason, Cody Allen has been just as impressive.
Shortly before the Cleveland Indians acquired Andrew Miller at the trade deadline from the the New York Yankees, closer Cody Allen went to the club’s management to express his opinion on the move. In an age of enormous player salaries and even larger egos, Allen’s message was refreshing.
Shortly after the trade was completed, general manager Chris Antonetti expressed his gratitude to the 27-year old right-hander:
"“I want to make a specific mention of Cody Allen. He came to me and said, ‘Chris, hey, for whatever it’s worth, all I care about is winning. I will do anything to help the team win. So if you feel that there’s some guy out there that can help us and help the bullpen, I’ll pitch whenever Tito wants me to pitch.’”"
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Whether he knew it or not, Allen was setting the tone for the success Cleveland would find down the stretch of the regular season and in the postseason. The Indians are preparing for their first appearance in the World Series in 19 years largely due to the unconventional use of the bullpen by manager Terry Francona.
And whether or not anyone has noticed given the dominance Miller has displayed, Allen has been every bit as reliable. In 23 appearances during the final two months of the regular season, he allowed just six runs, and five of those came in a single nightmare game in Chicago against the White Sox in which Adam Eaton hit a grand slam.
From August 2nd to October 2nd, here’s Allen’s stat line:
- 22.2 IP, 2.38 ERA, .135/.232/.236 opposition slash, .215 wOBA, 12 saves, 1 blown save
While Miller is often cited as the reason the Tribe held on in the Central Division and ran roughshod through the Red Sox and then Toronto in the American League Championship Series, Allen has matched him every step of the way.
Here’s how Allen has fared thus far in the playoffs:
- 7.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, .179/.258/.250 opposition slash, .167 wOBA, 5 saves, 0 blown saves
Allen has appeared in six of Cleveland’s eight games, and in five of them he has followed Miller to close things out. In three of them, he’s pitched more than just the standard one inning for a closer, using the strikeout for 12 of the 23 outs he has recorded.
When Miller’s 11.2 shutout innings are added to the equation, Francona and the Indians have had two of their best three arms (the other being Corey Kluber) pitch more than a quarter of their overall innings played, and most of them have been high leverage.
This much if certain: after the injuries to Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar crippled the starting rotation, the Tribe’s only chance to make a run to the World Series was to squeeze what it could out of the remaining healthy starting arms and then ride the bullpen. Much has been written about how masterfully Francona has done that, but none of it would have been possible without the buy-in of both Allen and Miller.
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Cleveland is four wins away from ending a 68-year championship drought, and regardless of who its opponent turns out to be, the bullpen will be called upon once again to do much of the heavy lifting. While the talk and media attention will surely center on Miller, the Indians and their fans can feel reassured to know that Allen is lurking in that 6-foot-7 shadow, and is willing to do anything to win.