KANSAS CITY -- Runners have enjoyed a steady rate of success stealing bases against Zach McAllister over the course of his professional career. The big Indians right-hander has been working hard to try to control the running game better than he has in the past.
"We talked about it quite often," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "We started working on things in the bullpen right at the start of the spring to really combat that."
The results have not been entirely measurable just yet.
Through four outings this season, McAllister has allowed four stolen bases with zero runners caught stealing. Last year, the right-hander allowed 18 stolen bases with just one runner caught during his time with Cleveland. For his career, McAllister has given up a combined 80 stolen bases with 11 runners nabbed between his time in the Minor and Major Leagues.
Callaway said McAllister has worked hard on cutting his time to home plate closer to 1.25 seconds. The pitching coach said the starter was around that time on the pitch to White Sox infielder Jeff Keppinger in the first inning on Wednesday, when Alejandro De Aza stole second. Keppinger then drove De Aza in with a single to right field.
"I thought he did a pretty good job on that one," Callaway said. "[De Aza] just ended up safe at second. ... He's made a conscious effort, for sure, in Spring Training to really quicken up and mix his holds, mix his looks and mix that 1.2 time to home on occasion. He's done a really good job of so far."
Callaway noted that the coaching staff has emphasized being faster to the plate to the entire pitching staff.
Last season, the Indians allowed an American League-high 140 stolen bases, including a Major League-worst 108 by the starting rotation. Both of those marks represented the highest in a single season for a Cleveland team since 1979.
"That was one of the big themes in Spring Training for the whole team," Callaway said. "We gave up a lot of stolen bases last year. We talked a lot about pounding the zone, getting ahead and controlling the running game. Those were probably the main things we talked about throughout the spring."