CHICAGO -- Leading late in a ballgame has been a rare occurrence for the Indians over the past two months. Under the circumstances, setup man Vinnie Pestano feels awful about letting some outings slip away from him in the second half.
Pestano yielded a three-run homer to White Sox slugger Adam Dunn in the eighth inning on Monday night, sending the Tribe on its way to a 5-4 defeat. It was an outing that ate at Pestano, who wants nothing more than to end this season on a better note.
"You really want to be used how you're supposed to be used," Pestano said on Tuesday. "You want to pitch in those close situations. You finally get one and you do with it what I did last night, it's terribly deflating. It's been a common theme for the past six weeks or so."Pestano bounced back with a scoreless eighth inning during the Indians' 4-3 win on Tuesday and struck out Dunn with a man on base.
Over his previous 15 appearances, dating back to Aug. 13, Pestano had gone 0-3 with a 6.46 ERA, allowing 11 earned runs and a .286 opponents' batting average over 15 1/3 innings. Pestano cited a drop-off in his slider command, forcing him to rely more on fastballs, as one issue he has dealt with of late.
The recent skid has marred an otherwise stellar season for Pestano, who headed into Tuesday's game with a 2.44 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings. Prior to his recent 15-game stretch, the right-hander went 3-0 with a 1.24 ERA, seven earned runs allowed and a .165 opponents' average across 51 innings.
"For the past several weeks, I've been brutal by my standards," Pestano said. "I'm a perfectionist. If I can give up zero runs in a season, I'm going to try. To give up three-quarters of my runs in the last six weeks of the season, I don't know what I can attribute it to besides execution."
Dunn, who belted two homers on Monday night, had high praise for Pestano.
"He's one of the best setup men in baseball," Dunn said. "People have probably never heard of him, but guys in this clubhouse and other clubhouses around the league know he is one of the best."
Hernandez to throw simulated game Wednesday
CHICAGO -- The Indians are running out of time in their quest to put Roberto Hernandez back in their rotation. A decisive step in the process is scheduled to take place on Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
Prior to Tuesday's game against the White Sox, manager Manny Acta said that Hernandez will test his ailing right ankle in a simulated game on Wednesday. Acta stressed that the ballclub is mostly concerned about Hernandez's mobility.
"It's not about throwing," Acta said. "It's about moving around and fielding his position. He can throw the ball. He can do that."
Acta indicated that the plan called for Hernandez to simulate three innings. The right-hander will also go through some agility drills to get a clear gauge on how his ankle responds to game-like fielding situations.
Following the workout, Cleveland will need to make a decision on Hernandez's status, considering the regular season ends on Oct. 3.
"If we don't feel that it's good enough for us to let him pitch," Acta said, "he'll just have another simulated game or something and call it a season."
Hernandez, who sustained the ankle injury during an outing against the A's on Aug. 27, has gone 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA in three starts for the Indians this season. This offeason, the pitcher would become eligible for free agency if Cleveland declines his $6 million club option for the 2013 campaign.
Canzler a work in progress for Indians
CHICAGO -- The Indians acquired Russ Canzler last offseason with the thought that he could develop into a useful right-handed bat. The club has used this month to take a close look at how he might fit into the team's future plans.
In Monday's 5-4 loss to the White Sox, Canzler went 1-for-4 with his lone hit being an opposite-field home run against tough lefty Chris Sale. In his first at-bat on Tuesday, he crushed a solo homer, his third, to left off lefty Francisco Liriano in the second inning. Canzler finished a triple shy of the cycle during his 3-for-4 effort in the 4-3 win.All things considered, though, Canzler remains a work in progress.
"He's done a decent job for us," Indians manager Manny Acta said on Tuesday. "He's quiet at the plate. Yesterday, he used the whole field better -- obviously, hitting that ball out to the opposite field.
"You have to understand that some of these guys are trying to impress everybody here and prove that they belong here. He's done OK."
Through his first 19 games with Cleveland, Canzler hit .269 (18-for-67) with two homers, two doubles and nine RBIs. Canzler ranks second on the team in homers and RBIs in September, but his on-base percentage (.290) and slugging percentage (.388) have left something to be desired.
Heading into the offseason, the Indians will look to address holes at first base, designated hitter and left field. Canzler has the ability to fill each of those roles, but Acta noted on Tuesday that the reports indicate that the rookie's best position is first base.
Quote to note
"It'd be tough not to learn lessons from a situation like this. Everybody is different and deals with it their own way, but it's a pretty big consensus that this has been tough for everybody and there's not one person in this locker room that wants to go through this again."
-- Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano, on the Tribe's season
Indians rookie Zach McAllister -- a native of Chillicothe, Ill. -- pitched in front of a host of family and friends during Monday's 5-4 loss to the White Sox. The righty gave up two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts in six innings en route to a no-decision.
"It was definitely nice to pitch close to home," McAllister said. "It was fun. it was exciting. It definitely had a great atmosphere."
Indians catcher Lou Marson was caught stealing on two attempts during Monday's loss to Chicago. According to STATS LLC, Marson joined Sandy Alomar Jr. (May 1, 1991) and Luke Sewell (Sept. 3, 1927) as one of just three Tribe catchers to be caught stealing twice in one game, dating back to 1921.
Indians center fielder Michael Brantley was out of the starting lineup on Tuesday for the second straight game because of a groin injury. Indians manager Manny Acta said Brantley would be re-evaluated prior to Wednesday's game against the White Sox.