It appears Triston McKenzie’s trip to Triple-A Columbus to hit the reset button lasted just one start.
McKenzie (1-3, 6.26 ERA) is scheduled to be recalled to start Saturday afternoon when the Cleveland Indians play host to the Seattle Mariners.
“So, going into this weekend, we have Aaron Civale, TBA and Shane Bieber,” Indians manager Terry Francona said earlier this week. “It’s not that hard to read into it.”
McKenzie opened the season with the Indians, making eight appearances — including seven starts. The right-hander was optioned to the minor leagues after an 10-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins on May 21 — with a major-league-high 30 walks issued in 31 1/3 innings — but his next two starts were with the Indians because of Zach Plesac’s broken right thumb and a doubleheader after a rainout.
McKenzie finally appeared Sunday for Triple-A Columbus, getting the victory by pitching 5 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed two hits, walked two and struck out four.
“We just feel like for Triston’s development, we need to almost let him hit the reset and go back to Triple-A and build from the ground up and get himself in a position where he can help us win games,” Francona said when the right-hander was optioned. “I think we felt like doing it here right now wasn’t happening.”
McKenzie has faced the Mariners once previously, a 7-3 loss on May 15 in Seattle. He allowed five runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings, with three walks and six strikeouts. McKenzie was stung by the long ball, as Mitch Haniger hit a solo shot and Dylan Moore added a three-run homer.
Slotting between Cleveland’s two aces should provide a soft landing spot for McKenzie.
Civale allowed just one hit over eight innings — a leadoff single by Seattle’s J.P. Crawford in the first — and struck out a career-high 11 Friday night as the Indians won the opener of the three-game series 7-0. Civale, who walked only one, earned his American League-leading ninth victory of the season.
The only other hit the Mariners got was a ninth-inning single by Haniger off Blake Parker.
The Mariners, who have been no-hit twice already this season, own a major-league-worst .207 batting average.
They especially struggled against Civale’s curveball.
“We knew that was his pitch,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “We just couldn’t do anything about it.”
The Mariners are scheduled to start left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (3-3, 4.05 ERA) on Saturday.
Kikuchi, who is 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two career starts against the Indians, had his streak of six consecutive quality starts snapped on June 5 against the host Los Angeles Angels after taking a hard-hit grounder off his right knee in the fifth inning.
The Mariners will be without center fielder Kyle Lewis, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, after he underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a torn right meniscus. General manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed the surgery before Friday’s game, saying it was a “successful procedure.” There is no timetable for Lewis’ return, although Servais said he hoped it would be this season.
–Field Level Media