CLEVELAND -- Tony Sipp does not plan on resting on his laurels after a handful of successful relief appearances, but the Indians left-hander is happy to finally see some progress after experiencing some early-season struggles.
"It feels really good," Sipp said on Wednesday. "Just to even put a dent into everything -- stats, ego -- no one likes to go out there and have a rough one every time. These last few have been a step in the right direction. It's a start.
"I'm still not satisfied. I'm still not content with the little bit that I've done recently, but it helps to start somewhere, and I'm just happy I'm at least on the right track."
Over his past four outings, Sipp has posted a 2.70 ERA with an opponents' batting average of .091 over 3 1/3 innings. It is a small sample, but that showing shaved his season ERA down to 9.53 from 21.60. Overall, Sipp has appeared in eight games out of the Tribe's bullpen, giving up six runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and three walks in 5 2/3 innings.
Indians manager Manny Acta said it has been good to see Sipp show improvement.
"He's had about three or four now in a row where he's been good," Acta said. "We need him. We know how big he's been for us the last couple of years. I feel now that he's gotten back. Three good outings in a row pretty much would help anybody."
Last season, Sipp went 6-3 with a 3.03 ERA as a left-handed setup man for the Indians. Over 69 games, the lefty struck out 57 and walked 24 over 62 1/3 innings. The southpaw said his primary issue early this year was finishing off hitters after working ahead in the count.
"A lot of it, I think, was just trying to have that put-away pitch," Sipp said. "I was ahead most of the time, trying to do like an 0-2 or a 1-2 pitch that didn't quite get out of the zone, and I got hurt that way. It's been more about finishing guys off and staying aggressive."
Sipp said it has helped to be surrounded by a group of strong relievers.
"Definitely. You can kind of hide behind those guys when you're struggling," he said. "I think my stats would be a lot worse without them. Joe Smith stranded a couple guys for me. When you're struggling, you've got those guys behind you that you know will come in and get the job done. But, in the same sense, you want to contribute to that also."