DETROIT -- The Indians felt their starting rotation was in good shape when this season began. It has since fallen short of expectations, leaving the club questioning the strength of the cast going forward.
Tribe manager manager Manny Acta said the club will need to re-evaluate the rotation for 2013.
"We're definitely going to have to reinforce [the rotation]," Acta said on Sunday. "No one was anticipating that some of the guys who [we] started the season with were going to -- I won't say take a step back -- but not pitch, at least, the way they pitched last year."
Entering Sunday's game in Detroit, Cleveland's rotation had gone 0-7 with a 12.08 ERA over the team's past eight games, allowing 54 runs (51 earned) over 38 innings. Among American League rotations, the Tribe ranked 12th in ERA (5.13), wins (36) and winning percentage (.424), 13th in walks (249), strikeouts (401) and WHIP (1.50) and last in losses (49) and hits allowed (688).
Justin Masterson (7-10, 4.78 ERA) and Ubaldo Jimenez (8-11, 5.29 ERA) are the only members of the Opening Day rotation who remain on the current staff. Josh Tomlin (5-8, 5.81 ERA) has been moved to the bullpen, Jeanmar Gomez (4-7, 5.18 ERA) was shipped back to Triple-A Columbus and Derek Lowe (8-10, 5.52 ERA) was recently designated for assignment.
The rotation now includes rookies Zach McAllister (4-3, 3.42 ERA) and Corey Kluber (0-0, 12.46 ERA), along with lefty Chris Seddon.
"I was looking at it [on Saturday] night," Acta said. "Out of the five guys we started the season with, I wasn't anticipating that one was going to get released, one was going to be sent down to Triple-A, one was going to have to be put in [the] bullpen and, at some point, the five of them would have a 5.00 ERA.
"That's not the way I think. That's not the way anyone should be going into the season thinking. We were positive going in. [I thought the rotation would] at least be better than it had been in the past. I was anticipating that either guys were going to pitch as good, or better."
Allen enjoying whirlwind rise to Majors
DETROIT -- There are still times when Indians rookie Cody Allen takes a look at his surroundings and he can't believe he is actually in the Majors. It is easy to understand why, considering he opened this season with Class A Carolina.
Allen has enjoyed a rapid ascent to The Show.
"I still have a moment, probably every other day," Allen said on Sunday morning, "where it's like, 'I'm in the big leagues.' But I try not to be in awe of it too much."
Whether the 23-year-old Allen is in the clubhouse or on the mound, the right-hander does not appear to be in awe. He has just five big league relief appearances under his belt, but Allen has started to settle in and Cleveland is making plans for the young pitcher.
The hard-throwing Allen might have a future in the back end of the Tribe's bullpen.
"He's a guy that projects to pitch fairly high-leverage innings for us," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "[He could pitch in the] seventh inning and progress to a point where, whenever we probably give [setup man Vinnie Pestano] or one of those guys a break, he can fill in there. That's something we're preparing him for."
Through his first five outings for the Indians, Allen has turned in 7 1/3 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and five walks (two coming in his big league debut against the Orioles on July 20). Allen's scoreless streak (no runs or earned runs) is the longest for an Indians reliever to start a Major League career since Edward Mujica opened his time with the Tribe with eight scoreless frames in 2006.
Allen joined the Indians after posting a 1.87 ERA in 31 games between Carolina, Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus this season. In his first two professional seasons, the right-hander fashioned a 1.74 ERA with 128 strikeouts against 23 walks in 98 Minor League innings.
"He was dominant in the Minor Leagues. That's why he's up here," Acta said. "He's a pretty confident kid. That's one of the things that has impressed our staff in the Minor Leagues and up here. He doesn't get fazed by anything, and he'll get after people."
While Allen still has his moments, the initial shock of reaching the big leagues so fast is beginning to wear off for the reliever.
"I was disappointed when we broke camp and I was in A ball," Allen said. "But I knew my future was in my own hands. If you pitch well and get better at the things they want you to get better at, odds are they'll move you up."
Carrera to get regular time in left field
DETROIT -- Ezequiel Carrera should get used to seeing his name in the Indians' starting lineup. Cleveland plans on giving the young outfielder a shot at the regular role in left field to hopefully spark the bottom of the batting order.
Carrera got the nod in left field on Sunday for the finale of Cleveland's three-game set against the Tigers, marking the third day in a row he started for the Tribe. Manager Manny Acta said Carrera will see the bulk of the playing time in left going forward.
"The majority of the time against righties, yeah," Acta said. "Here and there, we're going to mix in Shelley [Duncan] against lefties and stuff."
Carrera, 25, had two hits in his first game back with the Indians on Friday and he added a pair of triples in Saturday's loss in Detroit. Carrera became only the second Indians hitter since 2001 to collect two triples in a game. Josh Barfield also accomplished the rare feat for the Tribe in '07.
In 97 games for Triple-A Columbus this season, Carrera hit .294 with a .345 on-base percentage and a .419 slugging percentage. The speedy outfielder collected 19 doubles, six triples, six home runs, 26 stolen bases, 65 runs and 116 hits.
Cleveland is hoping Carrera can give the Indians that type of production, especially in the lower third of the lineup. Entering Sunday, Cleveland's Nos. 7-9 hitters had combined to hit .244 with a .303 OBP and a .371 slugging percentage through 107 games this season.
Carrera hit ninth on Friday and Saturday and served as the No. 7 hitter on Sunday.
"That's our hope," Acta said, "to get better in the bottom of the order and give those first four guys in our lineup a chance to have runners on base. I think he can do that for us."
Quote to note
"New surroundings. I'd never pitched in that stadium. New mound. I'd never faced those guys before. The adrenaline was pumping. But, ever since then, I've kind of gone out there and have felt pretty comfortable, pretty relaxed and have stayed within myself and made pitches."
--Indians rookie reliever Cody Allen, on walking two in his first big league game on July 20 vs. Baltimore.
Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner returned to the starting lineup on Sunday after sitting out Saturday's game with back tightness. Hafner had been bothered by the minor back issue for the past five days. He rejoined the club on Saturday after being on baseball's paternity list for the previous three games.
Indians right-hander Roberto Hernandez was scheduled to start for Class A (Low) Lake County on Sunday, making his third Minor League rehab appearance while serving a three-week suspension for using a false identity (Fausto Carmona). Hernandez will be eligible to rejoin Cleveland's pitching staff on Aug. 11.
Class A (High) Carolina athletic trainer Jeremy Heller has been named the Minor League athletic trainer of the year for the Carolina League by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society. Heller is in his eighth season as a Minor League athletic trainer, working with Carolina for the past three seasons.