CLEVELAND -- The amount of work Cody Allen has done over the past month is not limited to the pitches logged in the Indians' box scores. Those numbers do not include the throwing sessions in the outfield or on the bullpen mound, where the late-inning reliever searched for solutions to
CLEVELAND -- The amount of work Cody Allen has done over the past month is not limited to the pitches logged in the Indians' box scores. Those numbers do not include the throwing sessions in the outfield or on the bullpen mound, where the late-inning reliever searched for solutions to his struggles.
Once Allen felt he had found some answers and the in-game results began to back that belief, he worked with Indians manager Terry Francona on a schedule that would prepare him for October. That has included an eight-day down period, which is expected to conclude with an appearance on Monday on the road against the White Sox.
From there, Allen will use the regular season's final week to ramp up for what he hopes is a long run through the postseason.
"We were able to map out like, 'How many times do I need to get in?'" Allen said. "Because, now we want to focus on going back-to-back, going multiple innings, doing up-downs -- things we're going to do in the postseason. So, it's getting a little rest right before kind of getting into that."
Allen, who has not pitched in a game for the American League Central champions since Sept. 15, threw a bullpen session on Saturday. The right-hander is confident that he has solved some of the issues that were ailing him in August and wants to keep carrying those mechanical tweaks through the last week and into the playoffs.
Dating back to Aug. 30, Allen has logged 8 1/3 shutout innings in nine appearances, in which he has 11 strikeouts, five walks and three hits allowed. In the previous 20 games, the Tribe's all-time saves leader turned in a 7.20 ERA over 20 innings, allowing 16 runs on 25 hits (six home runs) with 21 strikeouts and 13 walks issued.
Allen said the current break from game action has nothing to do with anything health-related.
"Everything's good," Allen said. "We had some struggles there in August, and I feel like I've thrown the ball a lot better in September. But, it's not only those innings in the appearances in September, but I was throwing a lot in-between appearances, just ironing stuff out. So, I was working a lot and that started to catch up with me a little bit going into that last [Sept. 14-16] series against Detroit."
Last year, the Indians did not use Allen on back-to-back games from Sept. 14 through the end of the regular season, mixing in five breaks of two or more days in five different stretches in the final month. In 2016, Allen rested for three days after the Tribe clinched the AL Central. The righty then ramped up for the playoffs, during which he logged 13 2/3 shutout innings through Indians' run to the World Series.
"It's like, 'What's worked in the past?'" Allen said. "That's the thing that makes Tito [Francona] so good, is just the communication there. Now, we're in a spot where we can rest certain guys and put guys in certain spots that are going to be more indicative of how we're going to be used in the playoffs. It's just being able to prepare ourselves as much as we can."
• Over the past two weeks, relief ace Andrew Miller (activated from the disabled list on Sept. 10) has checked off a number of boxes in his return to normal usage for the Indians. He has finished games, worked on back-to-back days and pitched across multiple innings. During Saturday's win, Miller was stretched out to 31 pitches, marking his most in a game since the postseason last year.
"That's the idea," Francona said. "One of the hardest things for a manager is not knowing. The more question marks you can eliminate, the better off you are. We feel really good about bringing him into games now. If he comes in and gets on a roll, we can leave him in a game. If he has to work, OK, maybe we don't leave him in as long. But, I still think we feel really good about where he's at."
• Francona believes that the time to build momentum for the ALDS is not in the last regular-season games, but in the four off-days before the playoffs begin. The manager said the Indians will have a "full-fledged" intrasquad game on Oct. 2, followed by workouts on Oct. 3 (at home) and Oct. 4 (at Houston or Oakland).
"It's easy for guys to go out and take BP. There's cameras around," Francona said. "All of a sudden, you've got four days off and the games are going 100 miles an hour. I think the way you handle those off-days is how you create momentum going into the playoffs."
• Right-hander Trevor Bauer is scheduled to start as planned Tuesday on the road against the White Sox, with Carlos Carrasco following him out of the bullpen. Cleveland is still sorting out how to handle its regular-season finale on Sept. 30 at Kansas City. That would be the next scheduled day for both Bauer and Carrasco.
"We've got to get through one thing at a time," Francona said. "At the moment, we look like we need about 18 innings for Sunday [Sept. 30], and nobody wants to play 18."
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 Facebook.