Cody Allen remains Indians’ closer despite recent struggles

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona doesn’t plan to change the way he uses closer Cody Allen after the embattled right-hander gave up back-to-back homers in the ninth inning against the Royals.

Francona said Saturday that the Indians need Allen, and while he may use him before the ninth on occasion, there’s no change to Allen’s job description.

“I might pick some spots like I did the last few weeks, but other than that, we need him,” Francona said. “His ERA’s higher than he wants it to be. Come the end of the year if we get him on a roll, nobody’s going to care.”

Allen entered with a 4-3 lead on Friday night and left the mound two batters later with a loss after allowing homers to Ryan O’Hearn and Hunter Dozier.

Allen has a 4.50 ERA this season and 25 saves in 29 opportunities. He has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances and has blown two of his last six save chances. Meanwhile, Brad Hand has two of the last four saves for AL Central-leading Cleveland.

“Our bullpen, we know what we have. We need those guys, wherever they pitch, to be weapons. That’s the goal,” Francona said. “To me, Cody has been the closer for a while. I think if anyone had their choice they’d pick the ninth. But our guys do a good job of pitching when they’re asked to.”