Relief corps sets new record with Atchison's appearance

Relief corps sets new record with Atchison's appearance

CLEVELAND -- Terry Francona had already established an American League record for calls to a bullpen in a single season. On Tuesday night, the Indians manager's propensity for multiple pitching changes helped Cleveland's relief corps achieve another milestone.

When Francona summoned veteran Scott Atchison from the 'pen in the seventh inning of the Tribe's 7-1 loss, Cleveland saw a fourth reliever reach at least 70 appearances this season. Prior to this year, no American League team in baseball history had four pitchers notch that many outings in a single campaign.

"His care is there," Atchison said this past weekend about Francona. "I know everybody has talked about how much work we've had and all this, but we're all in pretty good shape. He genuinely cares about all of us and wants to make sure that nobody is hurt."

Setup man Bryan Shaw worked the ninth inning on Tuesday, giving him a Major League-leading 78 appearances this season. The right-hander is now one appearance shy of tying Bobby Howry's single-season franchise record of 79 games in 2005. Closer Cody Allen (74), lefty Marc Rzepczynski (71) and Atchison (70) are also in the 70-game club this year.

This season's Indians are just the 12th team in Major League history to have at least four players appear in at least 70 games in a season. The big league record of five was set by the 2006 Astros (Brad Lidge, Trever Miller, Chad Qualls, Russ Springer and Dan Wheeler). The last team to accomplish the feat was the Brewers in 2012.

With six relievers used in Tuesday's loss, Cleveland also upped its AL record for total relief appearances in one season to 563, which is the third-highest total in Major League history. Only the 2007 Nationals (588) and 2012 Rockies (575) ranked higher than the Indians on that list.

The Indians also boast Major League records for most games in one season with at least six pitchers (37) and most games in a year with at least seven pitchers (21).

"We've asked a lot of them," Francona said this past weekend. "We've tried to pitch them as much as we can without going too far. And part of what I think has helped is we trust every one of them to be honest with us [about how they're feeling]. ... They are answering the call and they complement each other."

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.