Allen holds unique strikeout record for Tribe
Closer has at least one K in 28 straight games entering Saturday
PITTSBURGH -- Indians closer Cody Allen has been overpowering opposing batters for most of the season, allowing him to recently establish a unique strikeout record for the ballclub.
With a pair of strikeouts in Friday's 5-2 win over the Pirates, Allen has registered at least one strikeout in 28 consecutive appearances, marking a franchise record for a reliever. The previous mark of 23 straight games was set by former Cleveland reliever Vinnie Pestano between the 2011-12 seasons.
"That shows the consistency and, really, the dominance that he's had lately," pitching coach Mickey Callaway said of Allen. "It feels to me like he's striking out two every time he goes out there. Obviously, that makes it a little easier to get through an inning when you're recording those kind of strikeouts."
In fact, Allen headed into Saturday's action riding a streak of five straight outings with at least two strikeouts, marking the longest such streak by a Tribe reliever since 2009 (six in a row by Tony Sipp). The record for that unique streak by an Indians reliever is eight games in row (done five times in team history).
Allen's run of 28 consecutive games with at least one whiff has only been topped four times in American League history by a reliever. Detroit's John Hiller (1976) and Boston's Koji Uehara (2013) each had 29-game runs, while Lee Smith (30 in 1988 for the Red Sox) and Jeff Montgomery (32 in '89 for the Royals) are the only AL pitchers to reach at least 30 games.
Reds closer Aroldis Chapman boasts the Major League relief record with 49 straight appearances with at least one strikeout between the 2013-14 campaigns. Allen's streak is currently tied for the 10th-longest such run in baseball history.
Allen's streak dates back to April 29, and the hard-throwing right-hander has spun a 1.24 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 29 innings during the 28-game stretch. Prior to the streak, Allen had a 13.50 ERA across his first seven appearances in April. Early on, Allen looked into his struggles but did not see anything alarming and trusted that he would turn things around.
"There wasn't anything on there that shot out to me," Allen said. "Nothing was different with my release point or my velocity being way down or my breaking ball breaking a different way. ... That allowed me to just keep with it, keep working, keep going. There wasn't anything that I needed to change."
• Indians manager Terry Francona indicated that right-hander Josh Tomlin (60-day disabled list with a right shoulder injury) has resumed throwing off a mound in Arizona and is nearing a Minor League rehab assignment. The manager added that veteran Nick Swisher (15-day DL with left knee inflammation) might begin a Minor League rehab assignment shortly after the All-Star break.
• Francona also noted that Triple-A lefty TJ House (on the Minor League DL) had his sore left shoulder recently re-evaluated by Dr. David Altchek. House was instructed to rest his arm for two weeks before resuming a throwing program.
• Francona said that utility man Ryan Raburn, who usually starts against left-handed pitching, was "a little under the weather" on Saturday. Mike Aviles started in place of Raburn in left field with Pirates lefty Jeff Locke on the hill.