EASTLAKE, Ohio -- A back injury sent Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach McAllister to the disabled list shortly after he allowed four runs in a game against the Detroit Tigers on May 21.
And as McAllister has been working his way back from injury, the Indians have swept three consecutive series at Progressive Field and gone from 10.5 games behind the Tigers in mid-May to only three behind the American League Central Division leaders one week into the month of June.
"It's been awesome," McAllister said. "It's been fun to watch. We're playing good baseball right now, pitching well and definitely putting up some runs too. Right now, I feel like we're in a really good groove as far as the team in general and being able to have fun while we're out there. We're having fun, but we turn it on when we need to."
McAllister credits the 6-0 record the Indians posted on a home stand against the best hitting team in the league, the Colorado Rockies, and a Boston Red Sox team that came to Cleveland winners of seven straight games, to the players' intense desire for success.
"We all want to win," McAllister said. "Everyone on this team wants to win. We got a taste of it last year, and it's fun when you win. It doesn't matter what level you're at or where you're playing or what sport you're playing. When you win, it's always fun, and we want to enjoy that, continue what we did last year, and hopefully, take it further."
Having not been able to pitch for the Indians since that May outing against the Tigers, McAllister has rehabilitated his back injury and made a rehab start for the Indians' Single A affiliate, the Lake County Captains, Thursday night.
McAllister allowed nine hits and three earned runs, and had a four-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio but took a no decision in a 6-3 win over the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
"It's hard for me," McAllister said of sitting games out and missing starts with the Indians. "Whether I'm pitching that day or not, I always want to be a part of the team, rooting guys on and helping us win in any way I can. Whether it's being a cheerleader or pitching that day and giving us a chance, it's a lot more fun to play and be healthy than it is to be hurt and watch.
"I'm there. Anytime you feel a part of the team and a part of winning, it's fun. They're having fun right now, and hopefully, I can get back there sooner rather than later and be a part of that."