Communication with Tito crucial to bullpen

Communication with Tito crucial to bullpen

SEATTLE -- The Indians expect to have closer Cody Allen and relief ace Andrew Miller shoulder important innings in October, when the American League Central champs will attempt to return to the World Series. With that in mind, manager Terry Francona appreciates the honesty that Allen displayed this week.

After Allen felt some mild soreness after his outing on Tuesday against the Angels, the closer looped in Francona, who decided to rest the right-hander for the next two games in Anaheim. Allen returned to the mound in the ninth inning on Friday, but yielded a two-run walk-off homer to Nelson Cruz in the Tribe's 3-1 loss to the Mariners.

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The good news is that Allen said he felt better physically.

"I felt really good out there. I was just kind of off a little bit," Allen said. "When you throw some bad pitches like that to some really good hitters, more often than not they're going to beat you. I felt really good. I felt like I had decent stuff, in terms of velocity and things like that, but just my timing was a little off. It is what it is."

While Allen took his two games off, Bryan Shaw worked a two-inning save on Wednesday, and lefty Tyler Olson picked up his first career save on Thursday. Francona said the honest feedback he gets from his relievers is critical right now.

"They've kind of grown into it," Francona said of the honest feedback he gets from his relievers. "I think everybody's first feeling is, 'I can pitch.' We know that. Shoot, we appreciate it. We respect how much they pitch. But, that way, when we pitch them, we know they're OK. And that's why we wanted to give him a day or so, just to kind of catch up a little bit, which he did."

Allen's game-ending catch

During that Tuesday outing, Allen allowed a home run to Justin Upton, but escaped the rest of the ninth unscathed for his 28th save. It is worth noting that Allen averaged 93.2 mph on his fastball on Tuesday, representing his lowest rate since July 24. Allen, who has a 2.57 ERA with 84 strikeouts against 21 walks through 63 innings, has averaged 94.3 mph on his heater this season, per Statcast™.

"I was a little sore the night that I threw," Allen said. "So, I just figured this is probably a good time to take a couple days. We have a full bullpen right now, everybody seems pretty well rested. ... I'm not a fan of not pitching, not being available. But also, at the same time, there's a fine line there. Taking those couple days off is probably in the best interest of myself and in the best interest of this ballclub.

"You give yourself a little break, a little bit of boost, where when you come back, you just feel good and then can kind of ride a good rhythm through the rest of the year and the postseason."

Woth noting
• Francona noted that outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall (right calf) is scheduled to resume running on Saturday at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Outfielder Brandon Guyer (left wrist) will be re-evaluated when the Indians return home and might be cleared to resume hitting next week.

• Third baseman Yandy Diaz has been out of the starting lineup for the past three games due to jamming his right middle finger on a slide into second base on Tuesday. Francona said Diaz is doing better and could return to the mix as early as Saturday in Seattle.

• Right-hander Danny Salazar logged 54 pitches in his start on Thursday and the Indians plan on continuing to stretch him out to leave all options open ahead of the playoffs. Francona said Salazar will make another start, but the timing is still being worked out.

• Francona said he is planning on meeting with Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, general manager Mike Chernoff and other members of the front office and coaching staff on Wednesday to discuss options for the postseason roster.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.