"He should. I'm not sure why he wouldn't," Francona said on Sunday. "I probably should've said more, because he's pitched high-leverage innings pretty much almost from the start of the season. And a lot of innings. He should be in that. I probably should've mentioned it more."
Heading into Sunday's game in Minnesota, the 24-year-old Allen ranked second in the American League in appearances with 77. That is the second-highest single-season total in franchise history, trailing only Bob Howry (79 in 2005). Allen ranked fifth overall among AL relievers with 88 strikeouts and was 6-1 with a 2.43 ERA in 70 1/3 innings.
The AL Rookie of the Year race is seemingly wide open.
Tampa Bay has a pair of candidates in outfielder Wil Myers and starter Chris Archer. Other players who could garner votes include Oakland pitcher Dan Straily, Texas pitcher Martin Perez, shortstop Jose Iglesias (Boston and Detroit) and Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia.
Francona hopes Allen will get some attention, too.
"When you have a guy that you can go to in a leverage situation that can bail you out of innings," Francona said, "it makes the whole bullpen better. Obviously, you've got to have a guy in the ninth to finish the game. But, more often than not, the game is won or lost in the seventh or eighth."
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.