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It's all starting to come together for Tribe

By PAUL HOYNES • Updated Jun 13, 2018 at 11:30 AM

CHICAGO — The Indians entered Wednesday night's game against the White Sox with 11 wins in their last 15 games.

The rotation of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger and Adam Plutko leads the big leagues with 29 starts of seven or more innings.

The bullpen, which ended May burnt to crisp with a 6.13 ERA, has posted a 2.87 ERA in June.

Offensively, the Indians scored the most runs in baseball in May. In June they're hitting .225 as a team and tied for 11th in runs in the AL. No one has said much because they have 5-game lead in the AL Central and there was no way they could stay as hot as they were in May.

"When you get good starting pitching it allows the bullpen to not get overused," manager Terry Francona said. "On Monday (4-0 win vs. White Sox), we didn't even get (closer) Cody Allen up.

"When we can win a game without getting Cody up that's helpful," he added. "Neil Ramirez has given us a shot in the arm in the bullpen, as has Oliver Perez. Things look like they're settling down a little bit so you can have some roles. Now when the phone rings down there, guys aren't wondering who's going in."

The starters have made 42 quality starts, second in the big leagues to Houston's 49. They've turned in an MLB-leading 13 starts in which they've struck out 10 or more batters. Carrasco, who beat the White Sox on Monday, did it in consecutive games for the first time in his career. He struck out 11 White Sox after striking out 10 Brewers on June 6.

"To go as deep as our rotation has gone this season — six, seven and eight innings — is really good to see," Carrasco said.

Not only have the Indians won 11 of their last 15 games, but 13 of their last 20.

"It's our kind of baseball," catcher Yan Gomes said. "We knew we weren't peaking just yet. It's that time of the year where things are going to start rolling.

"We wanted to blame the weather," he added. "We wanted to blame some other things. But we got some guys rolling, we're putting some numbers on the board and we're working on getting the pitchers going."

It hurts to get hit by a baseball

Nobody gets hit by more baseballs than outfielder Brandon Guyer. He led the AL in hit by pitches in 2015 and 2016.

Guyer probably would have done it again in 2017, but he played only 70 games because of a sore left wrist that required surgery at the end of the season.

That's a lot of bruises and Guyer often seems impervious to the pain. But not Sunday when he was playing his last rehab game at Class AAA Columbus before being activated by the Indians on Monday.

He got hit on the right wrist with a fastball.

"I thought I broke it," said Guyer. "It hurt a lot. Thank God it's nothing serious. The same thing happened to me last year in my last rehab game. I got hit by a pitch in the knee."

The Indians did not activate Guyer as scheduled on Monday. He needed another 24 hours to get the hand where he wants it to be. The White Sox are starting lefty Carlos Rodon on Thursday, so he could be activated and back in the lineup then.

"We just want to make sure he's healthy," Francona said. "Because once we activate him, somebody has to go."

The Indians are carrying five outfielders — Michael Brantley, Greg Allen, Lonnie Chisenhall, Melky Cabrera and Rajai Davis.

Another day, another bullpen session

Left-hander Andrew Miller, on the disabled list with a sore right knee, was scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday.

On Monday he simulated a two-inning appearance in the bullpen. He also threw one on Friday in Detroit.

"That one was good, it was a lot better than the one before (in Detroit)," Miller said.

Francona said the key is for Miller to be able to continue his delivery once he lands on his right knee.

"What we're trying to balance is knowing what it is, which we do," Francona said. "And building him up and trying to get back to a point where he can come back and pitch and stay healthy.

"The biggest thing is when he lands on that knee, and where he knows he can land on it, and continue (his delivery)," he added. "So they're getting as much information as they can."

Miller has been on the DL twice this year.

Francisco Mejia, outfielder?

The Indians optioned catching prospect Francisco Mejia to Class AAA Columbus on Tuesday one day after he was recalled. He was promoted because the Indians thought Roberto Perez might have to go on the disabled list because of a hand injury.

That was not the case and Perez was scheduled to catch Trevor Bauer on Wednesday night against the White Sox.

Before Mejia left, he talked about the experiment of playing him in the the outfield in order to get his bat to the big leagues faster.

"I like playing out there," Mejia said. "I've been playing left field mostly. Left field is easy, but right field is a little harder. But mostly I've been catching."

Mejia has appeared in 27 games at catcher, 16 in left field and one in right.

Asked about Mejia's outfield play, Francona said, "It's ongoing. He's plenty athletic. I still think the ball over his head is the hardest play for him ... just gauging the strength of the hitters.

"I can see at some point where that comes into play. He's got plenty of arm and he's not slow. I don't think anybody wants to give up on that."

Mejia, before being recalled, hit in 10 of his last 11 games. Overall, though he's struggled in his first year at Triple-A, hitting .214 (41-for-192) with four homers and 25 RBI.

"Struggling is going to be part of the season," Mejia said. "You're never going to be hitting all the time. All you can do is keep swinging the bat and see what happens."

Second chance for Drew Maggi

Indians infielder Drew Maggi, suspended for the first 50 games of the season, has rejoined Columbus. Maggi tested positive for an amphetamine and was suspended under MLB's Minor League drug prevention and treatment program.

"He's a really good kid who made a mistake," Francona said. "He was out in Arizona and worked really well when he was out there. I have no doubt that he'll hit the ground running when it comes to playing. He had two months of intense work, so he'll be OK."

The Indians signed Maggi to a minor-league deal and invited him to big-league spring training. He had a good camp, but was suspended on April 4, right before the start of the Triple-A season.

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