Smoke signals

• Closer John Axford was not available on Tuesday due to having pitched in three straight games for the Tribe. In his last two outings, Axford allowed a combined four runs on three hits with three walks and two home runs in just 1 1/3 innings. Francona feels it is just a bump in the road for Axford, who has nine saves in 11 chances.

"It's easy when you're watching a game," Francona said, "and you're a fan or media, to be like, 'Why'd you get him?' He's our closer and, up until a couple days ago he [was on a roll]. ... When you start running from guys, as opposed to trying to get them back to where they need to be, that can be unsettling for a team."

• Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, who headed into Tuesday's action with a .368 average through 20 games, has been taking some ground balls at first base for the past week or so. Chisenhall has also headed to the outfield at times to track down fly balls during batting practice. Francona said versatility is never a bad thing.

"He's a pretty good athlete," Francona said. "I've seen him before just running around in the outfield. I think he likes it. I think it's a good idea. When you've got a left-handed hitter that can do multiple things, it can only enhance your career. There's no downside."

• Entering Tuesday, Cleveland's rotation had gone 3-0 with a 1.28 ERA (six earned runs in 42 1/3 innings), .201 opponents' average and 50 strikeouts against nine walks in the past six starts at home. Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber and Zach McAllister combined to yield just one earned run in 22 innings with 27 strikeouts over the past three games.

• On Tuesday, the Indians named Double-A Akron right-hander Shawn Armstrong the organization's Minor League Player of the Week for April 28-May 4. During Akron's recent nine-game winning streak, the 23-year-old Armstrong spun 6 1/3 shutout innings with four saves. The righty had yielded just one earned run in 9 2/3 innings through 10 games (0.93 ERA) this season.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.