Indians cope with closer’s injury against Rangers

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians, who are still trying to adjust to life without star reliever Andrew Miller, will host the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night in the second game of a three-game series.

Entering Monday’s game, the Indians had lost three of four since Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained hamstring. The Indians have also lost four of six games on their current 11-game homestand.

Managing without Miller in the bullpen can be a challenge, and it showed Monday, when Indians manager Terry Francona allowed starter Trevor Bauer to throw 122 pitches and brought closer Cody Allen into the game in the eighth inning, with the Indians trailing.

The Indians eventually won 7-5, but Allen pitched 1 1/3 innings, throwing 41 pitches, and will not be available for Tuesday’s game.

“Without Andrew, we’ve got some guys pitching in situations they haven’t pitched in before,” Francona said. “We’ve got guys who can do it, and we’re going to be Ok, but we’re walking a fine line.”

Tuesday’s pitching matchup will right-handers Doug Fister and Mike Clevinger of Cleveland.

Fister (1-2, 3.93) has a 7-5 career record vs. the Indians with a 3.18 ERA. His eight career wins against Cleveland are his second most vs. any major league opponent. He has eight victories against Oakland.

In Fister’s last start, a no-decision vs. the A’s on April 25, Fister pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits with three strikeouts and three walks.

In three starts against the Indians last year when he was with Boston, Fister was 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA.

Clevinger, in his last two starts, had the best start of his career followed by a mediocre one. On April 21 in Baltimore, Clevinger pitched a two-hit shutout, his first career complete game. He threw 107 pitches, striking out three and walking two.

In his next start, a 5-4 Indians loss to Seattle on April 26, Clevinger didn’t get a decision, pitching six innings and allowing four runs and eight hits.

Clevinger’s last start against Texas came June 27, 2017. He got no decision in a 2-1 Cleveland loss. In that game, Clevinger pitched six innings, giving up one run and two hits with nine strikeouts and two walks.

In three career appearances and one start against the Rangers, Clevinger has no record and a 1.00 ERA.

Texas did add a reliever on Monday, recalling right-hander Jose Leclerc from Triple-A Round Rock. Leclerc takes the roster spot of left-hander Martin Perez, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list with discomfort in his right elbow.

In 47 relief appearances with the Rangers last year, Leclerc had a 3.94 ERA and averaged 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

The Rangers have been playing without shortstop Elvis Andrus, who is on the disabled list with a fractured right elbow. It’s the first time the Rangers have played at Progressive Field without Andrus since he reached the big leagues in 2009, and it’s a big loss for Texas.

Andrus’ .415 career batting average at Progressive Field is the highest in the history of the ballpark, which opened in 1994, for any player with a minimum of 120 plate appearances.

It’s 31 points higher than the next highest average. Andrus’ career 1.084 OPS at Progressive Field is second only to Albert Belle’s 1.098.