Indians weigh in on Interleague hitting rules
SAN FRANCISCO -- Zach McAllister now has two baseballs in his personal collection. The Indians starter already had a ball from his first win in the Major Leagues. On Saturday, McAllister added one for his first career hit in the big leagues.
In the second inning of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Giants, McAllister pushed a pitch from Giants righty Tim Lincecum into right field for a single. In the ninth inning, fellow Indians pitcher Corey Kluber came off the bench and served a pinch-runner for veteran Jason Giambi.
Welcome to another edition of Interleague Play.
"Some guys really enjoy it," McAllister said. "Other guys really have no opinion on it. They just do it because they have to. Other guys really don't like it. To me, I enjoy it. I think it's fun. It's nice to be able to go to different parks and play different teams as well. It's part of the beauty of being able to be in the big leagues."
McAllister also enjoyed getting that first career knock after going 0-for-4 in 2013.
"It was a pretty cool moment for me," he said.
Interleague Play is a fixure in the Major League schedule these days, but that does not mean it is any less of a challenge for American League pitchers. Indians manager Terry Francona, who has managed both in the National League (Phillies) and AL (Red Sox and Indians), believes the AL teams face more of an uphill battle under NL rules.
"It's a disadvantage," Francona said. "Now, saying that, when they come to our place, it's a disadvantage. I think it's probably less so for them. I know back even when I was with the Phillies, even though we weren't a high-payroll team, it was an opportunity to get somebody at-bats, which is good. The guy that's going to [be the designated hitter] is used to hitting.
"Your pitchers, not only are they pitchers, but they haven't been asked to [hit regularly]. So it's a huge disadvantage. You're asking a guy to maybe once a year try to get a bunt down or get a hit; it's probably one of my least favorite things about [Interleague]."
The bunting issue came into play in the fourth inning, when McAllister squared around and tapped a pitch with runners on first and second. Giants first baseman Brandon Belt charged in, gloved the ball and quickly fired it to third base, initiating an inning-ending double play.
"That's a tough one," Kluber said. "You've got guys crashing and it's not like a National league team, where we're in [the batting cage] bunting or hitting once a week."
Kluber did say he had fun being called upon as a pinch-runner, though.
"People say pitchers aren't athletes," he said with a smirk. "We like to prove them wrong."