Shaw providing Indians with top-notch relief

Shaw providing Indians with top-notch relief

Shaw providing Indians with top-notch relief

CLEVELAND -- Relievers are often superstitious by nature. That is especially the case when the pitcher is currently enjoying a hot streak.

It made sense then that Indians reliever Bryan Shaw tried to dodge the reporters who were looking for him in Cleveland's clubhouse on Saturday afternoon. And it also explained, after stopping for an interview, Shaw's response to the first question he fielded.

"No comment," Shaw said with a smirk.

For the better part of the past three months, Shaw has been one of the Tribe's unsung heroes out of the bullpen. Indians manager Terry Francona has leaned heavily on the right-hander, and Shaw has responded with a statistical showing that puts him among the American League's top relievers since early July.

"He came out of Spring Training as probably one of our best strike-throwers," Francona said. "And he has that cutter. Then he went through a little bit of a lull, where he started to fall behind. I think some of it was as he faced more left-handers. ... To his credit, man, he reeled it back in and he's been a weapon. And he will continue to be."

Entering Saturday, Shaw has gone 5-3 with a 3.42 ERA in a career-high 71 innings for the Indians, who acquired him from the D-backs in an offseason trade. Dating back to July 6, Shaw has posted a .178 opponents' batting average and a 1.95 ERA, which rank fifth and ninth, respectively, in the AL among the 44 relievers who have logged at least 25 innings in that time period.

Shaw has a 1.33 ERA across 20 1/3 innings since Aug. 12 and he has spun 11 1/3 shutout innings (to go along with nine strikeouts and no walks) in September.

"Earlier in the year, things were going well, but then you're going to struggle a little bit," Shaw said. "I think it was just mechanical and trying to get ahead of guys and trying to attack guys, and not trying to be too fine with pitches or nibbling here or there. I'm throwing how I want to throw it, getting after it and trying to attack guys."

During Friday's 2-1 win over the Astros, Shaw logged the last 1 1/3 innings and earned a save when the game was called due to rain before the bottom of the seventh.

"I didn't even realize it until we came in here," Shaw said of picking up his first save for Cleveland. "One of the guys mentioned it to me when we came in after the game. They said, 'Hey, if we call it, you get the save.' I was like, 'Yeah, I do get it.' That's kind of cool."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.