After taking two of three games against Kansas City that saw the offense explode for 26 runs during the homestand, the Cleveland Indians headed up to the motor city to take on the Detroit Tigers.
The Tribe lost a tough one Monday night as the Tigers jumped on Carlos Carrasco to take a 3-1 lead, before thrashing the bullpen for three more in the eighth to secure the win over the Cleveland Indians, 6-3.
Zach McAllister is the worst
Before I start this takeaway, let me just start by saying I have a bias. I am biased against one dimensional pitchers who are bad at spotting pitches and can do nothing but throw a fastball fast.
Now, back to the takeaway.
Zach McAllister is terrible. His ERA has now ballooned to 7.47 this season. In Monday’s game he pitched one inning, got two strikeouts and gave up a three run homer (more on that later).
The knock pushed the Tigers lead from 3-2 to 6-2. But what I mainly take issue with is how he gave up that home run.
Fastball. Right down the middle.
McAllister is a one trick pony in terms of his pitches. Over his entire career, 73.31% of his pitches have been four-seam fastballs. He’s only thrown one other pitch more than 10% of the time.
And it seems like every time he makes an appearance, he struggles to locate said fastball in any location other than right down the middle.
This tends to be a hitter’s favorite pitch and location combo to tee off on. In his career, McAllister has given up an average of one home run per nine innings, which, to his credit, is right around the league average.
But this season he is up to 3.04 home runs per nine innings. He has given up five home runs in just 15.2 innings pitched.
This goes hand in hand with the narrative of how terrible the Tribe’s bullpen has been this season, and adds fuel to my anti-McAllister agenda.
The home run didn’t lose the game for the Indians. They did get what would’ve been a tying third run in the ninth, but I have no doubt in my mind the bullpen wouldn’t have held on for a win anyways, so better to blow it earlier rather than later.
Still, in no world does giving up a three run homer help a team win and, so far in 2018, neither does throwing Zach McAllister.
Who is Niko Goodrum?
Niko Goodrum was a second round draft pick in 2010. Niko Goodrum had 11 games of major league experience before 2018. Niko Goodrum had two career home runs coming into Monday nights game.
Niko Goodrum also tee’d off for two home runs and five RBIs, essentially beating the Cleveland Indians single-handedly on two swings.
He doubled his season total of home runs and RBIs in just one game. This is not entirely unsurprising, however, considering both home runs came off of fastballs right down the middle, one by Carrasco and one, of course, by McAllister.
He hasn’t seen much success for the entirety of this season, but the young right fielder has seen improved numbers over his last 15 games, reaching his pinnacle just in time to go off on the Tribe.
Greg Allen stepping up in Naquin’s absence
Tyler Naquin was performing very well while filling in for an injured Lonnie Chisenhall. He himself then went down with an injury. This led to Greg Allen being called upon and, after a rocky first game, he’s been solid.
After his 2-5 outing last game against Kansas City, Allen came out even better Monday, going 3-4 with a run.
While he didn’t exactly have the most impressive hits, one reaching on a bunt single and beating out another hit for an infield single, he did knock a triple to start the ninth inning.
I’m not sure on where Greg Allen stands with the club. To me, he’s not even a top four outfielder on this team when all available options are healthy.
He’s not a great hitter, but not the worst, and his defense is sound. While it doesn’t seem like he will become an everyday starter anytime soon, it’s good to see him stepping up and filling in when needed.