CLEVELAND -- Cody Allen was waiting at his locker when the clubhouse opened on Tuesday night, as is the case whenever things go awry in the late innings with the closer on the mound.Accountability has never been an issue for Allen and he again stood to face the music after
CLEVELAND -- Cody Allen was waiting at his locker when the clubhouse opened on Tuesday night, as is the case whenever things go awry in the late innings with the closer on the mound.
Accountability has never been an issue for Allen and he again stood to face the music after a tough 2-1 loss to the Rangers. In the ninth inning, Cleveland's closer surrendered a two-out, go-ahead home run to Adrian Beltre, who drilled an elevated fastball into the left-field seats to hush the Progressive Field crowd.
Allen's lament was not the pitch -- Beltre has been beaten plenty on the specific offering in question -- but rather that the storyline shifted away from a promising start from Mike Clevinger.
"He pitched unbelievable. He did everything he could," Allen said. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to hold it down there at the end."
As for the pitch to Beltre, Allen felt it was a Hall of Fame-caliber hitter doing what he has done to many pitchers over the years. The closer simply lost the battle.
With two outs and the game caught in a 1-1 deadlock, Indians bench coach Brad Mills -- filling in for manager Terry Francona -- handed the ball to Allen. One night earlier, the closer worked a drama-free eighth inning, fanning the three Texas batters he faced. It was a solid bounce-back outing for Allen after he allowed a game-changing home run to Minnesota's James Dozier in the eighth on Saturday.
Dozier and Beltre crushed similar pitches: Four-seam fastballs high and inside the strike zone. There was a big difference between the two situations, though: Per Statcast™, Dozier has a .778 slugging percentage on right-hander four-seamers to that area of the zone over the past three seasons combined. Beltre, on the other hand, entered Tuesday with a .300 slugging percentage on similar pitches.
"I felt like it was a pretty good pitch, kind of what we were trying to do to him there," said Allen, who has a 2.40 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 30 innings this year. "He got me. He took a good swing. It wasn't a bad pitch. He was just ready for it -- didn't miss it. He's done it quite a few times."
In fact, Beltre's home run marked No. 450 in his career, putting him in sole possession of 39th on baseball's all-time list.
"Fastball got elevated on him and he was able to get it there," Mills said. "Sometimes you've got to tip your hat. At the same time, he threw the ball so well last night, obviously, and was throwing the ball [well] tonight as well. Just one pitch got up and got hit."
And that one pitch pushed Clevinger's strong start out of the spotlight.
The right-hander limited the Rangers to one run over six innings, piling up a career-high nine strikeouts and generating another personal best in swinging strikes (20). His lone setback came in the fifth, when Robinson Chirinos drilled a game-tying home run. The long ball combined lack of offense to bring Allen to the mound with a tie game in the ninth.
"You're out there to get three outs, help the team try to win a ballgame," Allen said. "I just flat-out got beat tonight. So just tip your cap, come back tomorrow and try to get them."
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.