For the next couple days, the Indians will have a 9-man bullpen.
On Monday the Indians
optioned starting pitcher T.J. House
back to Triple-A Columbus, and called up reliever Mark Lowe
to take his place on the roster.
Lowe (a righty) spent a week with the Tribe in May, allowing 1 run in 4.1 innings over four appearances. That might sound good, but consider that in the three games Lowe pitched in without allowing a home run, he gave up 4 hits and issued 4 walks. He was fortunate not to have allowed more runs, and there's a reason he's spent most of the season on the farm.
The real news behind this transaction is that it means Zach McAllister
is ready to rejoin the rotation after missing four weeks with a lower back strain. He pitched 4 scoreless innings for Columbus on Saturday, and should be removed from the DL and brought back to Cleveland on Thursday, in time to pitch that afternoon's series finale against the Angels (at which time Lowe will likely be sent back down, unless he's able to pass someone on the bullpen depth chart in the next two days).
McAllister had a 3.18 ERA and 2.58 FIP through his first seven starts, but was then hit hard in his next three games, giving up a whopping 17 earned runs in 7.2 innings, with 6 walks and 4 home runs allowed. Hopefully those numbers were the result of the back pain, and hopefully that back pain really is behind him now. If he can pitch anywhere near as well as he did during the season's first five weeks, he could be a very good #4 starter for the team.
As for House, he did okay in his first taste of MLB, posting a 4.88 ERA and 4.82 FIP in 27.2 innings spread over five starts and one very brief relief appearance. He went 5+ innings while allowing no more than 2 runs in three of his five starts, which is a solid game for a #5 starter. I'm happy to have McAllister back, but I'm also glad to think House is capable of filling in, should the need arise again.