"We could have," Francona said prior to Wednesday's game. "It's just, we have a day off tomorrow, and to be honest with you, I just think we want to try to get through today. I would've had a hard time sending somebody down after last night. I think that sends the wrong message."
Following 5 1/3 strong innings from starter Danny Salazar, the Indians cycled through all eight of their relievers, who helped Cleveland string together 13 shutout innings after the Angels scored in the first. The relief corps turned in 8 2/3 scoreless frames, lowering the bullpen ERA to 1.38 through the first eight games of this nine-game road trip.
Cleveland's bullpen has fashioned a 2.73 ERA over the team's past 38 games, dating back to July 8.
One of the bullpen's specialities of late has been stranded inherited runners.
During the road trip, Cleveland's relievers had stranded 22 of 23 inherited runners entering Wednesday. The Indians' 89.1 stranded percentage in August was the second-best mark in the Major Leagues. The Tribe's season stranded rate of 73.6 percent was the third-best mark in the American League behind only the Yankees and Blue Jays.
Indians lefty Rich Hill entered Wednesday ranked first in the AL with the most inherited runners stranded (50), and he led Cleveland's bullpen by stranding 86 percent.
"That's always a huge number," Francona said. "That doesn't get publicized a lot, but it's big."
Roughly two hours before Wednesday's first pitch, Francona admitted that he was not sure how his bullpen would be used, if needed, following starter Justin Masterson.
"I saw him this morning," Francona said of Masterson. "He was going to breakfast and I told him he has a pitch count of 190."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.