Cleveland Indians: Cody Allen Named Closer for 2017
Despite Andrew Miller’s dominance last season, Cody Allen will remain the closer for the Cleveland Indians to start the year.
The Cleveland Indians have made up their mind on who they want to close games for them in 2017. Terry Francona has said that he will use Cody Allen as the team’s primary closer for the 2017 season. Francona has chosen Allen over one of the best relievers in baseball in Andrew Miller. He will most likely still use matchups late in games but Allen will be the primary guy at the end of games.
Allen, 28, pitched terrifically for the Indians last season. He held a 2.51 ERA over 68.0 innings pitched and accumulated 32 saves. His strikeout rate was the lowest since the 2013 season, at 11.5/9 innings, but that did not stop Allen from being consistent late in games. His walk-rate and home run rate were the highest since that 2013 season as well. While Allen pitched well last season, it was not one of his best seasons of his career. He still has a lot to build on if he wants to keep the closer role away from Miller.
Miller, 31, was amazing for the Indians after they acquired him right before the trade deadline. In 29 innings in Cleveland, Miller posted a 1.55 ERA, while striking out 14.3 batters per nine innings. Those numbers are among the best in baseball. Francona used Miller differently in every game last year, sometimes using him in the fifth inning and sometimes giving him a chance to close the game over Allen. Francona loved to use Miller in the most crucial situations, not matter what the inning.
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The Indians bullpen was great last year as a whole. They ranked fourth in all of baseball with a 3.45 ERA out of their relievers. They look to hold that consistency by keeping one of their best, with Allen, closing games. Francona was terrific when plugging in relievers at the right times in games.
The move to make Allen their closer is a great move for the Indians moving forward. This opens up the rest of the game for Miller to pitch when they will need him. One of the most difficult things that Francona will face this season, is figuring out what is the most crucial part of the game. Once they use Miller, they only have Allen left and he is going to be closing out games for the most part.
If the Cleveland Indians play their cards right, this will be a great move for the team moving forward for the 2017 season.