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Allen, Miller showing no signs of fatigue

MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Working with a depleted rotation last October, Indians manager Terry Francona leaned heavily on his bullpen during his team's World Series run. Closer Cody Allen and relief ace Andrew Miller shouldered the bulk of the load, making it fair to wonder if there would be any negative carryover this season.

As April ends, Allen and Miller have been just as overpowering out of the chute as they were down the stretch and throughout the postseason. One month does not make a season, but Francona's late-inning duo has hardly looked fazed by the extra bullets they fired off in the playoffs.

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CLEVELAND -- Working with a depleted rotation last October, Indians manager Terry Francona leaned heavily on his bullpen during his team's World Series run. Closer Cody Allen and relief ace Andrew Miller shouldered the bulk of the load, making it fair to wonder if there would be any negative carryover this season.

As April ends, Allen and Miller have been just as overpowering out of the chute as they were down the stretch and throughout the postseason. One month does not make a season, but Francona's late-inning duo has hardly looked fazed by the extra bullets they fired off in the playoffs.

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"Being cognizant of what they did is important," Francona said on Sunday morning. "We tried to talk about it in Spring Training and balance some of that out. It is nice to see them kind of hit the ground running, but I wasn't maybe as concerned as other people were about that. It's not that I don't care. I just think the way they work and their talent, I think they're going to be just fine."

So far, Allen and Miller have rewarded their manager for his belief in them.

Video: HOU@CLE: Miller K's McCann, escapes bases-loaded jam

Entering Sunday's game against the Mariners, Allen and Miller had combined to allow just one earned run in 21 2/3 innings. In those frames, they had piled up 36 strikeouts against five walks. It is reminiscent to what the two did in the postseason, when they combined to give up three earned runs with 54 strikeouts and 10 walks in 33 innings.

Allen, specifically, has enjoyed an incredible month on the mound.

Heading into Sunday's action, the closer had six saves and 20 strikeouts against just one walk in his 10 innings pitched. His strong start comes after he posted an 8.83 ERA (17 earned runs in 17 1/3 innings) over the past two Aprils combined. Allen had a 6.97 ERA in April last year and posted a bloated 11.57 ERA in April in '15. Allen entered this year with a 5.26 ERA in April, compared to a 2.22 ERA in all other months combined.

"April and September, everything is magnified," Allen said. "I don't think I changed anything. Sometimes you get into a groove a little bit quicker. Every season is going to have its ups and downs. The previous two years, those downs came really early in the season. I think getting out of the gate and starting the season well can pay huge dividends.

"You build confidence as you go. If you blow a couple or you don't have a couple good ones, you know that you've pitched well and you have something to fall back on. It's a 162-game season."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Cleveland Indians, Cody Allen, Andrew Miller