CLEVELAND — At the start of the season, Zach McAllister was one of the Indians’ most effective pitchers. He won three of his first four starts and had an ERA of 2.28. When he takes the mound Thursday night against Seattle, the right-hander will be looking to snap a string of nine straight starts without a win.
Since beating Kansas City on April 21, McAllister has gone 0-6 with a 7.65 ERA. He had a stint on the disabled list in late May due to back inflammation and since being activated has shuffled between here and Columbus.
McAllister looked like he was able to get back on track in Columbus but in his three July starts with the Tribe has gone 0-2 with a 4.96 ERA. In last Saturday’s game at Kansas City, he was unable to hold a 5-0 lead and gave up six runs (five earned) on eight hits in four-plus innings.
The problems with McAllister have been consistent — control. The fastball has been solid but his secondary pitches have not been effective.
Said McAllister after last Saturday’s game: "I thought even in Triple A and my last start I had a good mix. Saturday I didn’t do that. That’s something I have to realize whether is out there or in the dugout. I have to use my fastball but also have good enough secondary stuff to use when I need to."
This will be McAllister’s fifth career start against the Mariners. He is 0-2 with a 5.60 ERA against Seattle but the Indians have won the two games he has started against them at Progressive Field.
After Wednesday’s 2-0 victory, the Indians try to win the three-game series. They are 6-4 in the rubber games of series, including 3-1 at home. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on SportsTime Ohio.
Here are some other things to watch in the game:
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: After drawing a walk on Wednesday, Michael Brantley has reached base safely in 12 of his last 13 games at Progressive Field. Brantley is batting .370 during that span (20 for 54) with three homers and 12 RBI. His .349 home average on the season is second-highest in the American League and third-best in the Majors behind Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki (.417) and Texas’ Adrian Beltre (.367).
SECOND-HALF SURGE: Yan Gomes, who had a two-run double in the fifth, is batting .409 (18 for 44) since the All-Star break with eight extra-base hits and nine RBI.
GOOD WEEK: Nick Swisher, who had two hits on Wednesday, is 5 for 11 in the past three games and is batting .255 in July.
MARINERS STARTER: Chris Young (9-6, 3.04) is 10th in the AL in ERA (3.04) and fourth in opponent batting average (.212). The right-hander is also 4-2 with a 2.12 ERA in his last eight starts dating back to June 16. Young will be making his third career start against the Tribe as he is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA. He allowed one run on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts in a win on June 27 in Seattle.
KEPT IN CHECK: Second baseman Robinson Cano has only four hits in 18 at-bats against the Indians this season. He came into the year batting .342 lifetime against the Tribe.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT: Catcher Mike Zunino has more extra-base hits (33) than singles (31). Zunino has 16 home runs, 16 doubles and a triple. The 16 homers are second-most among catchers in the majors.