CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians relief pitchers Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen have been manager Terry Francona’s workhorses at the back end of the bullpen for the last four years, leading the team in appearances in every season since 2013.
And as the Indians prepare to take on the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field tonight, Cleveland’s top set-up man, Shaw, and closer, Allen, are ready to play if and when needed.
“We’re always ready, whether it’s the first inning or the ninth inning,” Shaw said. “If the starter goes deep, we may have an opportunity, a chance. If the starter goes five and we’re winning 3-1 and he gets a couple guys on base and struggles in the sixth, we can cover it if it happens.
“If it happens in the third, we can cover it. If it happens in the ninth, we can cover it. We’re ready down there. Whenever the phone rings, whenever Tito calls us, we’re ready to go.”
Throughout the 2016 season, Allen once again filled the Indians’ closer role, and in 67 appearances, he posted a 3-5 record with 32 saves in 35 chances and carried a 2.51 earned run average over 68.0 innings of work.
In his appearances, Allen allowed just 41 hits, 19 earned runs and eight homers, and struck out 87 hitters with just 27 walks.
“I think the bullpen is going to be a key in it,” Allen said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily the case where we’re going to have to shoulder a load.
“I think there’s going to be 25 guys on a roster when we suit up on Thursday that are going to be very impactful to every, single game, whether that’s the bullpen guys, starting pitcher, infielder, outfielder, catcher, whoever it is. There’s 25 guys that are willing to share that workload and try and figure out a way to win some baseball games.”
In Shaw, the Indians had a set-up man that posted a 3.24 ERA in 66.2 innings over 75 appearances. And with a month separating the Indians from a World Series Championship, Shaw is committed to doing what is necessary to help Cleveland win.
“Everyone down in the pen, we know that with the off day, we can got two days, off day, two days, off day and pitch,” Shaw said. “It’s not like we haven’t done it all year and in previous years, so we’re definitely going to be ready when the phone rings.
“It’s just another lineup. You’ve got to face them like that. You’ve got to treat them like that. You can’t think of, ‘Well, this guy hits like this,’ or ‘This guy does that.’ You just go out there. It’s a hitter and you’ve got to get him out.”