KANSAS CITY -- Dan Otero got the news with about 45 minutes remaining in what turned out to be a one-hour, 50-minute rain delay.When play resumed in the Indians' 8-0 victory on Sunday, Otero was being tabbed by manager Terry Francona to get the club out of a sticky situation.
KANSAS CITY -- Dan Otero got the news with about 45 minutes remaining in what turned out to be a one-hour, 50-minute rain delay.
When play resumed in the Indians' 8-0 victory on Sunday, Otero was being tabbed by manager Terry Francona to get the club out of a sticky situation. Sure, the Indians would be taking the field with a 4-0 lead in the second inning. But the Royals had two on with two outs. Furthermore, Andrew Butera was at the plate with a 2-0 count.
Otero had a lot of time to think. It was imperative that his first pitch had to be a strike. But he couldn't make it so fat in the strike zone that Butera could get the Royals right back in the game with one swing.
One day earlier, Otero had allowed four hits and five runs (one earned) in what turned out to be an Indians' blowout loss. But positive thoughts abounded and Otero came through. His first pitch to Butera resulted in a popup to first. Otera went on to record seven outs with just 16 pitches and push the Indians toward cruise control in a shutout victory.
"We were down in the count 2-0 and we always feel like Otero is going to come in and throw strikes," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's a guy we've kind of been doing that with a lot. That's really what it was. It was probably [Otero] or [Nick] Goody."
Goody had allowed his first earned run of the season on Saturday when Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run homer off him. Otero threw 29 pitches in his rocky Saturday outing.
"With Otero, when he's good, he has a chance to give you a couple of quick innings," Francona said. "It doesn't mean he's going to, but he has that chance and that's exactly what he did."
Because the rain delay went so long, starter Trevor Bauer had to end his day at 1 2/3 innings. Francona said there's a chance Bauer could be brought back quicker for his next start because he threw just 30 pitches.
Otero wound up facing the minimum over his 2 1/3-inning stint. But getting Butera and ending the second was the big item from a momentum standpoint.
"It's only tough because it's not the normal," Otero said. "Other than that, you're just coming in with men on base. You expect Butera to be swinging there. He popped it up and we were able to get the job done the rest of the game."
Francona had said he wanted to see more energy from his club after a sloppy performance on Saturday.
"That's the beauty of baseball," Otero said. "You have the opportunity to bounce back the next day. Our team did that after a rough one Saturday and for me, on a personal level, it was great to bounce back. We're an experienced group and everyone holds himself accountable."
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City who covered the Indians on Sunday.