Allen shuts down on opponents

When the Cleveland Indians demoted veteran reliever John Axford from the closer's role, manager Terry Francona said the team would use a "closer by committee" to finish off opposing hitters late in games.

But if the Indians were holding auditions, young reliever Cody Allen could be cast in the leading role.

Allen came into last Tuesday's 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox and shut the door by going perfect over 1.1 innings of work to earn his fourth save in a five-night span.

"You don't try and think of it as a four-out save or a three-out save," Allen said. "You just try to make one good pitch after the other."

Allen pitched the extra out in order to give his teammate, Bryan Shaw, a night off after he threw 3.2 innings over the previous three nights.

"The guy's pitched freaking every day and has been fantastic for us, so we tried to pick him up tonight and keep him out of the ballgame," Allen said.

For the second straight night, Allen ended the game by getting out Red Sox outfielder Grady Sizemore. Allen struck out Sizemore with a combination knuckle-curveball that he got him to chase out of the strike zone.

"You're not really thinking about it when you're out there," Allen said. "You're just trying to get the guy out because you've got A.J. Pierzynski on deck with a chance to tie it up if Grady gets on base. If you fool around with him too much and he draws a walk or something, so you're just trying to make a good pitch and get him out."

Allen credits his effectiveness and ability to get strikeouts to the development of a repertoire that now features a curveball.

"Honestly, I think it's just repetition," Allen said. "It was a new pitch for me. I started throwing it about 2010, but really, I was throwing other pitches. Being fastball-breaking ball there, it's just repetition and getting a better feel for it.

"I'm just trying to stick with the same approach, just get ahead of guys, throw the breaking ball for a strike. I feel like the breaking ball's been a big thing for me this year. I was pretty inconsistent with it last year, but (it's good) being able to throw it for a strike and expand the zone with it late in the count and get swings and misses with it."


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