When you think of the Cleveland Indians’ stellar relief corps, you first think of Andrew Miller. That’s with good reason. He’s one of the best relievers in the game, a weapon that the Indians deploy whenever they need — especially in the postseason.
Miller is great, but you should be thinking of Cody Allen too. It’s Allen, the 28-year-old with the tough knuckle-curve, who the Indians call to close out games. When you think of the game’s elite closers, you don’t necessarily think of Allen either, but that might be changing this season.
If it’s a close game on Wednesday night when the Indians face the Detroit Tigers and the Tribe has a late lead, there’s a good chance you’ll see Allen. The Indians and Tigers are the MLB Free Game of the Day on Yahoo Sports, which means you can stream the game for free on our MLB page, the Game of the Day tab or in this very post when first pitch rolls around at 7:10 p.m. ET. Local blackouts apply per MLB rules.
They’re a heck of a 1-2 punch, Miller and Allen. While Miller gets praise heaped upon him regularly, Allen is starting to see more of the love too. On Wednesday, he was named MLB’s reliever of the month for April — and he earned it.
Allen had six saves in 10 appearances, letting in just one run in that time. That’s a 0.90 ERA. He’s also struck out 20 batters against just one walk, which makes for a pretty nice strikeout-to-walk ratio. His knuckle-curve alone is responsible for 11 strike threes, according to MLB.com. Put it together and Allen is the most valuable relief pitcher so far this season, according to Fangraphs’ WAR.
He doesn’t blow anybody away, necessarily. We’re not talking about Aroldis Chapman’s blazing fastball here. But Allen is a good example of reliever with a tough out-pitch who is as steady as they come. Allen has saved 34 and 32 games, respectively, for the Indians the past two years. His others numbers, like ERA and K/BB radio, have been right around the same in that time too.
There’s something to be said about consistency, especially in the closer role. That’s why the Indians’ bullpen works. Skipper Terry Francona knows he has a dependable ninth-inning stopper in Allen, so he can use Miller in high-leverage spots.
They’re yin and yang, and together they equal success for the Indians.
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