CLEVELAND -- Andrew Miller is dealing with the disappointment of landing on the disabled list for the third time, but the left-hander is confident there is still a chance to save a lost season.
“Fortunately, we’ve got a lot of good people in place to deal with that kind of mental side of this,” Miller said Wednesday night. “I think ultimately I’m excited that I feel like I’m in a place that I’ll be able to contribute at the end of the year. It’s frustrating. It’s gonna be a tough few days not being able to be out there.
“I think we’ll get it right and I’ll have plenty of time to get back and still accomplish some goals. It is what it is. I think I’ll still be back to get plenty of outings and ideally be as good as I can at the end. That’s what’s important.”
Miller’s first two trips to the injured list involved his legs. He missed two weeks with a hamstring strain, then two-plus months with right knee inflammation.
This time around, it’s his left shoulder and a case of bursitis, with Miller heading back to the injured list 27 days after he was activated. Miller, who made 10 appearances (1.86 ERA) before returning to the injured list, was asked if the issue was similar to a “dead arm” period.
“Dead arm’s kind of a weird term,” he said. “No one knows what that really means. But it’s been a grind for a couple times. I went out and it just felt like I was pushing too hard through some stuff.”
Manager Terry Francona said Miller, who received a cortisone injection Wednesday, would be shut down for 4-5 days before being “ramped” back up.
For five straight seasons, right-hander Cody Allen provided effective relief at the back end of the Indians bullpen, posting sub-3.00 ERAs while making at least 67 appearances from 2013-17.
This year has been a struggle to say the least. Allen entered Thursday owning a bulky 4.66 ERA through 57 games. He allowed the game-winning run in the seventh inning Wednesday and has surrendered six runs on nine hits and five walks over his last five appearances.
“It’s been a number of things this year,” Allen said following Wednesday’s loss. “Fastball doesn’t necessarily have the finish through the zone or being able to make a pitch when you need to. The feel really hasn’t quite been there. So we’ll make some adjustments.
“Sometimes it can literally be one pitch that locks you in and then you go. That’s why you gotta kinda keep grinding, grinding, grinding. You go out there one time, make a couple really good pitches and you’re able to follow that up and take it out there the next time. The same way that momentum or things can snowball you in the wrong direction, they can definitely go in the right direction, too. That’s the goal.”
The Twins took an interesting defensive approach against Jose Ramirez when the switch-hitter batted from the left side Thursday, employing four outfielders toward right field and playing Ramirez to pull the ball on the infield as well.
It left the left side wide open, but paid off with the right fielder in perfect position to handle Ramirez’s drive down the line that would have gone for extra bases under normal circumstances.
“It shows you the impact Josey is having against the league,” Francona said of the MVP candidate. “But if teams do that, Josey’s going to bunt a double. Josey’ll end up on second one way or another.”
“I really don’t know how I should take that,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “I don’t know if it’s a respect thing, but I was trying to hit it out so that I could at least get a triple and go around third base.”
The Indians continue the homestand with a three-game series against the surging Tampa Bay Rays that begins tonight at 7:10.
Corey Kluber (16-7, 2.91 ERA) opens the set, opposing RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 3.80), while Shane Bieber goes for the Indians on Saturday (7:10 p.m.) against LHP Blake Snell (16-5, 2.05).
Carlos Carrasco (16-7, 3.38) starts for Cleveland in the series finale Sunday (4:10 p.m.), with the Rays yet to name a pitcher.
Tampa Bay entered Thursday nine games over .500 with nine wins in its last 10 games.
- The Indians entered Thursday with a team batting average of .259, which ranked second in the AL behind Boston’s .270. They were also among the top five in stolen bases (first with 104), hits (second with 1,178), runs (third with 671), homers (fourth with 179) and extra-base hits (fifth with 440).
- ** Edwin Encarnacion reached the 90-RBI plateau Wednesday night for the seventh straight season. It’s the longest active streak in the majors and the longest since Adrian Gonzalez did it in 10 straight seasons from 2007-16.
- ** Encarnacion’s 747 RBIs since 2012 is the highest total in the big leagues -- 70 more than his closest competitor, Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt, through Wednesday.