Another day, another roster move involving the Cleveland Indians‘ bullpen. Prior to their 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, the Indians placed reliever Evan Marshall on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation.
To replace Marshall on the roster, the Indians selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from Triple-A Columbus.
Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field, the Indians and White Sox will play the final game of their three-game series.
Kontos, 33, started this season with Pittsburgh, for whom he made 21 relief appearances this year, going 2-3 with a 5.03 ERA and one save. He was designated for assignment on May 25 and was signed as a free agent by the Indians on May 25. In six appearances with Triple-A Columbus, Kontos pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing seven hits, with six strikeouts and no walks.
When he gets into a game Kontos will become the 17th different relief pitcher used by the Indians this season.
“With the new guys, we want to get them settled, and I want to familiarize myself with them as quickly as I can,” said Indians manager Terry Francona, who admits that it’s a challenge for newly-acquired pitchers to be comfortable.
Many of the relievers the Indians have used were released by other teams.
Francona says he is mindful of the pressure the new relievers face when they join the team.
“When guys are pitching for their baseball life, it’s harder on them,” Francona said. “When (closer) Cody Allen has a bad inning, he knows he’s going to be here the next day. The other guys, when they have a bad inning they know they might get sent down or designated for assignment. That makes it hard.”
Fortunately for Francona and those relievers, the Indians’ starting pitcher Wednesday usually makes it an easy day for the bullpen. Reigning Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (10-3, 2.24 ERA) will be on the mound for Cleveland.
Kluber, however, is coming off his worst start of the season in his last outing, a 6-3 loss to Minnesota on Friday. Kluber lasted just five innings, giving up four runs on four hits, with three strikeouts and one walk.
That one walk was significant because it snapped a streak of six starts, 46 1/3 innings and 169 consecutive batters faced by Kluber without a walk. The four runs allowed by Kluber snapped his streak of 14 consecutive quality starts to begin the season, the longest such streak by an Indians pitcher in 100 years.
Kluber’s last start against the White Sox came on May 30 of this year, a 9-1 Cleveland victory in which Kluber got the win by pitching six scoreless innings on three hits, with 10 strikeouts and no walks. In 21 career appearances against the White Sox Kluber is 10-4 with a 3.05 ERA.
Kluber’s mound opponent on Wednesday was his mound opponent in that May 30 game between the two teams — Reynaldo Lopez (2-4, 3.26).
In that loss to Kluber, Lopez pitched 2 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
Lopez’s last start was a 4-3 White Sox loss to Detroit on Friday. Lopez, who did not figure in the decision, pitched six innings, allowing three runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and no walks. In two career starts against Cleveland, Lopez is 0-2 with an 8.31 ERA.
The Indians come into Wednesday’s game having won three in a row while the White Sox have lost six in a row.