Much has been made about Cody Allen’s high ERA. So let’s take a closer dive into his outings in which he allowed runs. In each appearance he allows a run, I give him a culpability grade on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very unlucky and he did not deserve the runs and 10 being a very poor pitching performance.
April 27, 2018: Enters game in 9th inning with runner on 1st, 2 outs, up four runs. Mitch Haniger doubles, Mike Zunino homers, Ben Gamel lines out.
The double is on a mistake fastball for which Michael Brantley probably runs harder if it’s a closer game. Zunino gets a breaking ball and uses his strength to pull it over the wall. It’s a little bit of a hanger, but it’s still down in the zone and away, and it’s hard to see hitters pulling that consistently. If you’re going to miss, miss there. Culpability grade: 5
April 30, 2018: Enters game in 8th inning with runner on 2nd, 1 out, down one run. Joey Gallo grounds out, Isiah Kiner-Falefa walks, Ronald Guzman hit by pitch, Robinson Chirinos flies out, inning end. In the 9th, after the Indians take the lead, Drew Robinson singles, Delino DeShields strikes out, Shin-Soo Choo walks, Jurickson Profar grounds out, and Nomar Mazara singles to third. Allen is relieved.
Okay, Allen is on forty pitches. He probably should’ve been more efficient in the eighth, but he escaped unscathed. In the ninth, he’s gassed, but he still gets Mazara to roll over to third. Jose Ramirez (alleged MVP candidate) makes a bad throw that probably still beats Mazara if Yonder Alonso can dig properly. Culpability grade: 1
May 6, 2018: Enters game in 8th inning (is this a theme?) with runners on 1st and 2nd, 1 out, up 4 runs. Gleybar Torres flies out, Brett Gardner singles in one, Aaron Judge doubles in two, Didi Gregorius IBB’d, Gary Sanchez flies out, inning over. In the 9th, Aaron Hicks doubles, and Neil Walker doubles him in.
Gardner singles on a well-located fastball. It could be placed more inside or outside, I suppose. It’s passable. Judge slices a ball that Naquin butchers in right. The Hicks double is on a terrible fastball down the heart, and the Walker double is a on a hanger. Although, once again, Allen is climbing into the 30+ pitch mark. Culpability grade: 8
May 19, 2018: Enters game in 8th inning with runner on 2nd, 1 out, up 2 runs. Carlos Correa flies out, Brian McCann flies out, end inning. In the 9th, Yuli Gurriel flies out, Marwin Gonzalez homers, Josh Reddick flies out, Tony Kemp strikes out.
Correa’s looks deep until you realize it’s the Crawford Boxes. A 2-0 get-me-over to Marwin? C’mon, Cody. Better than that. It’s also situational, and one run doesn’t kill him, whereas a walk would bring the tying run to the plate. He gets the save. Once again approaches 30 pitches. Culpability grade: 3
May 25, 2018: Enters game in 8th inning with runner on 2nd, 0 outs, tie game. Carlos Correa grounds out, Marwin Gonzalez squeezes, Yuli Gurriel singles, Evan Gattis HBP, Max Stassi walks.
Can’t fault him for the bunt, but the other stuff is not good. Culpability grade: 8
June 3, 2018: Enters game in 9th inning with no one on, 0 outs, tie game. Brian Dozier walks, Eddie Rosario homers.
Yeah, it is a day game, but this is a badly located fastball. You need the closer to be able to pitch a scoreless inning there. Allen did not. Culpability grade: 10
June 5, 2018: Enters game in 9th inning with no one on, 0 outs, up 1 run. Travis Shaw homers, Ryan Braun flies out, Ji-Man Choi grounds out, Jonathan Villar strikes out.
This is well-located on the inner half. It’s a two run game, and Allen is challenging hitters, like he’s supposed to. It’s a little elevated, but Shaw does well to pull his hands in here and sneak it out of the park just fair. Taking into account the situation and the pitch, it’s hard to blame him too much for this. Culpability grade: 4
June 9, 2018: Enters game in 12th inning with no one on, 0 outs, tie game. Leonys Martin strikes out, Nicholas Castellanos grounds out, Miguel Cabrera walks, Jeimer Candelario homers.
Terrible 2-0. You can’t do that. Culpability grade: 10
Then we skip ahead to July 10. Allen doesn’t allow a single run for over a month. His ERA is 3.25. At this point in time, the Indians are up nine games in the AL Central and have over a 99% chance of winning the division. Although this is purely a theory, I imagine it can be hard to bring your A-game day-in-and-day-out knowing you are playing for essentially nothing. Up until now, Allen has been pretty good, with a couple of minor hiccups along the way. From here on, the wheels start to fall apart. So without further ado, here we go.
July 10, 2018: Enters game in 9th inning with no one on, 0 outs, up 4 runs. Scooter Gennett HBP, Eugenio Suarez singles to third, Jesse Winkler strikes out, Tucker Barnhart flies out, Jose Peraza singles to first, Adam Duvall doubles, Scott Schebler IBB’d, Dilson Herrera walks. Dan Otero replaces Allen and allows two more Allen runs to score.
The Peraza single is a killer. It has a 52 mph exit velocity, and had it gone almost anywhere else in the field (or even foul), Allen would’ve gotten out unscathed. It wasn’t a bad pitch. Duvall got a hold of a pretty good pitch and pulled it past the outfielders. As far as six run outings good, this is actually not too bad. Culpability grade: 5
July 13, 2018: Enters game in 9th inning with no one on, 0 outs, up 2 runs. Giancarlo Stanton homers, Greg Bird singles, Miguel Andujar GIDPs, Neil Walker walks, Didi Gregorius pops out.
Stanton got a hold of one, as he is wont to do. Allen still gets the save. Culpability score: 3
July 20, 2018: Enters game in 9th inning with no one on, 0 outs, up 2 runs. Rougned Odor strikes out, Ronald Guzman flies out, Robinson Chirinos homers, Joey Gallo homers, Jurickson Profar singles to third, Shin-Soo Choo walks, Willie Calhoun strikes out.
Chirinos gets a fastball right down Broadway at 94. Can’t happen, Captain Cody! Gallo then gets a 94 mph fastball as well. Culpability score: 10
August 8, 2018: Enters game in 9th inning with no one on, 0 outs, up 1 run. Miguel Sano homers, Max Kepler strikes out, Logan Forsythe singles, Logan Morrison FC, Mitch Garver walks, Ehire Adrianza strikes out.
The breaking ball to Sano should be buried, but it’s just hanging. Hanging, hanging, and the guy with power crushes it away. When he misses, he’s prone to the long ball. At this point, the ERA is getting higher and higher. The Indians are still winning games. Culpability score: 10
August 20, 2018: Enters game in 9th inning with no one on, 0 outs, up 2 runs. We are starting to see more traditional save situations. Mookie Betts doubles, Andrew Benintendi walks, Mitch Moreland FC, JD Martinez pops out, Xander Bogaerts singles to short, Ian Kinsler flies out.
Sure, Betts did double, but the run scoring single was a dribbler up the third base line. Hard to fault Allen too much for this. Culpability score: 3
August 22, 2018: Enters game in 8th inning with no one on, 0 outs, down 5 runs. The game is out of hand. Jackie Bradley singles. Mookie Betts flies out. Andrew Benintendi strikes out. Mitch Moreland walks. JD Martinez singles. Xander Bogaerts lines out.
The JBJ single is interesting because it demonstrates how Andrelton Simmons is still the best defensive shortstop in the game. Still, Martinez and Bogaerts hit some balls hard off Allen. It is a blowout, and I am inclined to cut him some slack. Culpability score: 4
August 24, 2018: Enters game in 9th inning with no one on, 0 outs, up 1 run. Yikes. He’s gotten the yips. Ryan O’Hearn homers. Hunter Dozier homers.
Where is the real Cody Allen? Culpability score: 10
August 29, 2018: Enters game in 7th inning with no one on, 0 outs, up 1 run. They throw him in the 7th. He still blows the save. Willians Astudillo flies out. Joe Mauer strikes out. Logan Forsythe walks. Eddie Rosario singles. Miguel Sano walks. Robbie Grossman singles, runner out.
You simply can’t load the bases in the majors after you get two outs. The 1-2 to Grossman is nowhere near where it should be, and although he hits it on the ground, it finds a hole. Culpability score: 8
September 28, 2018: Enters game in 9th inning with no one on, 0 outs, up 11 runs. Adalberto Mondesi strikes out. Rosell Herrera singles. Salvador Perez singles. Ryan O’Hearn walks. Hunter Dozier walks. Reliever allows a grand slam.
C’mon. No more walking. He may not have given up the runs, but it’s a double digit lead. Culpability score: 8
September 29, 2018: Enters game in 7th inning with no one on, 0 outs, down 4 runs. Brian Goodwin doubles. Alcides Escobar singles. Meibrys Viloria singles. Whit Merrifield strikes out.
In this last appearance of the regular season, Allen is just trying to work through some kinks to be ready for the playoffs. Culpability score: 1
Ultimately, Allen seems susceptible to the long ball and the walk. Angel Stadium should help with the long ball, and we can only hope he gets his control back. Furthermore, many of his “wild” appearances happened after the Indians were clearly taking home the division. I imagine it must be hard to compete at a high level knowing that you are probably winning the division. Allen isn’t good or bad, he just is. He’s a closer, and he should probably regress to the mean next year. It’s a good signing.