6/19/2014 7:00 P.M. ET
Rain creates need for Tribe to shuffle rotation
By Alec Shirkey / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Even if Wednesday's tilt with the Angels had not been postponed by thunderstorms, the Tribe would still have had to rearrange their rotation heading into next week. The only question remaining is how that will be done.
Originally scheduled to start Wednesday, right-hander Justin Masterson had his outing pushed back to Thursday's finale against the Halos, while Corey Kluber is expected to make his scheduled start against the Tigers on Friday. That leaves recently activated Zach McAllister, originally slated to pitch on Thursday, as the odd man out.
"We'll put [McAllister] in the bullpen today in case something fluky happens," Indians manager Terry Francona said Thursday morning. "And then, after the game today, we will sit [down] -- me, [pitching coach Mickey Callaway, general manager Chris Antonetti] and the guys. We'll have a much better idea moving forward on what we need to do, what we can do."
McAllister (3-4, 5.89) came off the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday when the team designated reliever Josh Outman for assignment. Last Saturday, McAllister made his final rehab start with Triple-A Columbus, working four scoreless innings on 65 pitches.
"It's always hard to tell [with rehab starts]," Francona said. "He wasn't facing [Mike] Trout and [Josh] Hamilton and [Albert] Pujols."
Cleveland also has an upcoming two-game series with the D-backs, sandwiched between two off-days next Monday and Thursday. Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin are listed as the team's probable pitchers for Saturday and Sunday, respectively, so the Indians may shuffle the rotation to prevent McAllister and Masterson from having too much time in between starts.
"We'd like to set some things up for the guys going forward so they can get their work week," Francona said. "We'll get to that."
Francona also emphasized his desire to keep from overworking the bullpen. Over the past 10 games, only once has an Indians starter made it through six full innings, with relievers handling 56.4 percent of the total workload (49 2/3 out of 88 innings).
Raburn, Santana turn pivotal double plays
CLEVELAND -- The Tribe's inconsistency in the field has been a glaring weakness this season, but the team showed plenty of smooth glovework during Thursday's 5-3 win in 10 innings.
Entering its third tilt with the Angels, Cleveland had committed a Major-League worst 64 errors this season to go along with a .977 fielding percentage. But two key double plays -- one turned by right fielder Ryan Raburn, the other by first baseman Carlos Santana -- kept the Indians within striking distance and helped propel the effectively wild Justin Masterson to complete seven innings of one-run baseball.
"They were great," Masterson said. "My friends did a really good job out there. Raburn getting the double play, we had quite a few double plays at much-needed times. It was just a battle the whole time for everybody."
In the fourth inning, Masterson had allowed two men to reach base and was working with no outs in a tie game. Luckily for him, Raburn was there to erase the frame's previous mistakes, as he skillfully grabbed a Howie Kendrick screamer in right field, regained his balance and then gunned down Josh Hamilton at second for the uncommon 9-6 double play.
"The line drive to right ... that Raburn caught that doubled up Hamilton was huge," Tribe manager Terry Francona said.
One inning later, third baseman David Freese again put the pressure on with a leadoff single. This time it was Santana who picked up his starting pitcher, snagging a sharply hit ball from Hank Conger and throwing it ahead of Freese at second to turn two.
"It was great," Santana said. "The team played good defense. It was very important for winning the game. With good defense, we had an opportunity."
Quote to note
"I think everybody in the organization felt this kid could make a rapid rise. Part of it is that he kind of is what he is. It's not like he's going to go from 95 to 100 [mph]. He's polished. The game never sped up on him at any level."
-- Francona on reliever Kyle Crockett, who has a 1.29 ERA in six games with the Tribe this season
• Outfielder Michael Brantley (mild concussion) continues to aim for a Saturday return to Cleveland's lineup. He took part in limited pregame activities on Thursday, including running, throwing and some work in the batting cages.
"If all goes well, which to this point it has, [Friday] will be full activity on the field, all except for the game," Francona said.
• Relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano has not allowed a run in any of his past 10 appearances with Triple-A Columbus, striking out nine, walking one and scattering four hits. Pestano was optioned to the Minors on April 9 after struggling to a 13.50 ERA in three games with the Indians.
"Sounds like he's doing pretty well. That's good to hear, we're pretty excited about that," Francona said. "Less ups and downs. He's been more consistent, and I think he's feeling pretty good about himself."
• Entering Thursday, the Cleveland lineup has hit .108 with runners in scoring position over the past six games.
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.