Triston McKenzie had such a bad start last week the Cleveland Indians decided to send him to Triple-A.
Then Zach Plesac injured himself taking off his shirt and McKenzie was called back up to make a spot start Wednesday.
The whole point of sending the young right-hander to Triple-A was to help him find the strike zone once again.
McKenzie allowed five free passes in his previous start and gave up six earned runs on only two hits.
In fact, he averaged nearly four walks per game all season so the problem was not a new one.
But Wednesday was a chance to prove he didn’t need a long stint in Triple-A to solve his problems.
While McKenzie was not perfect, he looked much better than before.
Triston McKenzie Limits The Mistakes
McKenzie still did walk three Detroit Tigers batters in what ended up being a 1-0 loss.
However, he had five strikeouts and only allowed one hit in his five innings of work.
As for finding the zone, he had 44 strikes on 73 pitches.
It is clear to see that McKenzie is still not pounding the zone as much as he should.
But he did make sure to attack the zone on the first pitch, which was a nice change.
Triston McKenzie was in attack mode tonight, throwing first-pitch strikes to 11 of the 18 batters he faced and using all his weapons along the way. #Indians pic.twitter.com/QeHxciqx5K
— Dawn Klemish (@Sportsgal25) May 27, 2021
He is still 23 years old and the fact he bounced back after such a recent demotion says a lot about his composure at such a young age.
Some other players may have cracked under the pressure of trying to prove they belong in the MLB rotation.
The news before the game was that McKenzie was set to be optioned right back to the minors following his start.
The fact the Indians have a doubleheader changed that plan as the front office continues to maneuver the rulebook in their favor.
As I suspected: Triston McKenzie will be the team's 27th man on Monday when the Indians and White Sox play a doubleheader. https://t.co/VnSVlPQKQP
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) May 27, 2021
Plesac going down with an injury opened this opportunity and McKenzie will have another chance Monday to prove he belongs.
Speaking of Plesac, an update came out on him as well.
Plesac Recovering From Freak Injury
News dropped this week that Plesac fractured his thumb on his throwing had while taking off his shirt.
The initial fear was surgery, but he has avoided that fate.
Zach Plesac will not need surgery. He'll be re-evaluated every 7-10 days. They'll take the next 3 weeks for him to begin a throwing progression. After that is still TBD.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) May 26, 2021
The bad news is he is still weeks away from returning.
Now fans are waiting for the truth of how this happened.
However, bad luck may end up being the actual answer.
McKenzie seized his opportunity and a player like Sam Hentges can do the same.
The Indians are also handing out more opportunities, which we will get to later today.
The fact remains that McKenzie is seen as a long-term player in this rotation.
The same is true for Plesac, Aaron Civale, and obviously Shane Bieber.
Now comes the goal of finding a proper fifth starter in the rotation.
Similar outings like the one McKenzie just had will take away the need to acquire outside help, even though that may be the smartest option for the short-term goal of contending in 2021.
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