McAllister’s Bad Luck
Christian Petrila | On 24, Apr 2013
Baseball is an unforgiving sport, but few have felt its wrath quite like Zach McAllister.
Entering Wednesday, McAllister has 29 starts and 160.1 innings under his belt. In that time, he has allowed 104 runs. Out of those 104 runs, 77 of them are earned. That means that 27 runs are unearned. To put it as a percentage, about 26 percent of his runs are unearned.
Think about that. About a quarter of the runs Zach McAllister has allowed so far are unearned.
Skipping the 2011 season when he only made four starts in which four of his 16 runs were unearned (25 percent), McAllister became a regular in the Indians rotation in May 2012.
McAllister gave up 78 runs in 2012, out of which 19 were unearned. Once again, the percentage is right around 25 (24.4).
The other regular starters for the Indians in 2012 were Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Derek Lowe, Josh Tomlin and Jeanmar Gomez. Out of the 457 those five pitchers allowed, just 32 were unearned, which is just seven percent.
In 2012, the MLB average for unearned runs was around eight percent. So why is McAllister’s percentage so abnormally high?
In McAllister’s 22 starts in 2012, he had given up at least one unearned run in eight of those starts. In one particular Aug. 6 start against the Twins, McAllister gave up nine runs, but only two were earned.
By dissecting this particular start, we see that the two earned runs came in the form of back-to-back home runs to lead off the bottom of the first. From there, McAllister appeared to be on the verge of escaping the inning with minimal damage, as there were runners on first and second with two outs.
Unfortunately for McAllister, a Carlos Santana error kept the inning going for the Twins, as they scored a run on the error. The wheels came off for McAllister after that. He fell behind 3-1 to Ben Revere who drove in a run with a single. He fell behind to the next hitter as well, as Joe Mauer doubled home another two unearned runs. After walking Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau singled home Mauer. Josh Tomlin would replace McAllister, but he allowed those last two runs to score on a three-run home run.
This wasn’t the only time McAllister was derailed by an error. The Indians faced the Rays right before the All-Star break, and McAllister was on the mound for the July 16 series finale.
McAllister was dealing. Entering the sixth, the Rays had just two walks and one hit. However, then the sixth rolled around. McAllister got a quick out against Elliot Johnson. Carlos Pena hit a one-out single, after which Ben Zobrist grounded into what could’ve been an out. However, the play was botched by Asdrubal Cabrera allowing both runners to reach safely. McAllister was flustered and allowed a two-run double to Luke Scott, followed by a four-pitch walk to Jeff Keppinger. Desmond Jennings doubled to right to score two more runs. That was it for McAllister for the day. Four runs, none of them earned.
McAllister will have to learn how to keep his composure after an error, especially if the Indians defense continues to struggle. Entering Wednesday, the Indians have all ready committed 13 errors on the young season. That’s tied for second most in the American League and tied for fifth in the MLB.
Did I mention that three of them have come in games McAllister started, leading to four unearned runs?
Granted, the defense isn’t doing McAllister any favors by committing so many errors in the first place. However, some of the responsibility also falls on McAllister’s shoulders because the great pitchers are able to overcome mistakes to limit the damage.
In time, maybe that 25 percent will end up closer to the eight percent area. For now, though, the composure could use some work.