Home Run Against Allen Doesn’t Slow Progress or Confidence
By Mike Brandyberry
All good streaks come to an end and despite the end of his streak, Cody Allen isn’t losing any confidence.
Allen has had a quick climb through the Indians’ minor league system and since his contract was purchased on July 20, he hadn’t allowed a run in the big leagues until Friday night when he allowed a two run home run to New York Yankees, Nick Swisher. The home run gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead and eventually the victory, extending the Tribe’s most current losing streak to nine games.
For Allen the home run broke a streak of 12 scoreless outings over 13.2 innings of work since his promotion to Cleveland. It also was the first hit he allowed to a left-handed hitter. Swisher, a switch hitter, stroked the ball into the right field seats from the left side Friday night.
“I was never thinking about any streak or anything like that,” Allen said. “It was bound to happen sometime, I just wish it wouldn’t have been (Friday).”
Like most relievers Allen has already put the home run out of his mind and has moved on. It’s easy for him to remember his success since he has had so much at the big league level, but also in the minor leagues. He started the season a High-A Carolina before stops in Akron and Columbus. He moved through the system and was in Triple-A Columbus by April 26.
“Obviously you’re going to build confidence as you go if you’re having success,” Allen said. “There’s going to be times you can’t get out of an inning. You gotta keep you’re confidence. Everyone here is good, confident ballplayers. I’m not going to change anything because I gave up a home run to Swisher.”
Allen isn’t just confident in himself, so is Indians Manager Manny Acta. Both before and after Friday’s game Acta was clear that Allen’s success would lead to him having the chance to pitch in more pressure-filled situations with the game on the line. When Allen was first promoted, he didn’t necessarily have a role, often pitching early in the game or in late-inning situations when the game was not on the line.
Now, Allen is going to be given more of an opportunity to pitch in pressure filled situations in the later innings, something he did throughout his time in the minor leagues and a role he has been groomed for.
“It’s good. In hindsight the reason I’m getting these situations is because we’ve lost some games and we’re in the back of the pack now,” Allen said. “But three outs, is three outs. It doesn’t matter if you get them in the fifth inning or the eighth inning. Some outs are bigger than others but the game is still the same.”
The game may be the same, but Allen’s role with the Indians is clearly increasing. The Tribe drafted the hard-throwing right-hander in 23rd round of the 2011 draft. He’s only the second player from last season’s draft—Arizona’s Trevor Bauer, the first—to make his Major League debut yet. Cleveland thought so highly of Allen that they drafted him a year prior in the 16th round. When they could not sign him, they drafted him again last season.
The Indians’ confidence and Allen’s quick progression makes him a young, valuable member of the bullpen for years to come. Considering the Tribe has him under team control for the unforeseen future, Allen makes himself a great candidate to be a back end bullpen pitcher for many years to come. However, he’s not thinking ahead, just his next appearance.
“I’m just trying to go day-by-day,” Allen said. “I’m not trying to get too caught up in what’s ahead. You gotta perform daily to keep a job here. I’m just trying to focus on my next outing, so I’m trying to be prepared for that.”