Good morning, troops. It's Monday, May 14.

The major-league baseball season still is in its early stages, but things could be better for Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Zach McAllister. The Chillicothe native is 0-2 with an earned-run average of 7.36.

But an appearance last week in a game at Milwaukee resulted in McAllister winning a marathon at-bat against a Brewers hitter. It also might indicate the Illinois Valley Central High School graduate is finding a good groove.

McAllister entered the game May 8 in the bottom of the eighth inning, with two outs, the bases loaded and the Brewers leading by one run. That's plenty of pressure for any relief pitcher.

The mission was simple: Retire the batter, Milwaukee catcher Manny Pina. McAllister did that, but it wasn't easy.

It took 15 pitches to strike out Pina. After the first three pitches, Pina was down in the count 1-2. But he fouled away 12 of the 15 pitches he saw.

No doubt McAllister might have been a bit frustrated.

"I was just thinking about getting strike one and hopefully putting him away," he told "Obviously, I want a strikeout or a ball hit right at someone in that situation. It just so happened that he wasn't going to miss a whole lot of pitches.

"He wasn't trying to do anything more than put the ball in play and foul off a bunch of pitches."

McAllister kept throwing fastballs to Pina but decided to mix in a curveball. That last pitch to Pina froze him for strike three. Pina was the only batter McAllister faced.

"Zach had a great at-bat," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He gave us a chance to win that game."

The Indians didn't win. The Brewers did, 3-2.

Cleveland is one game above .500 and in first place in the American League Central Division, but McAllister has had a rough go of it.

In April, his ERA was 11.42. The nadir might have come April 28 against Seattle, when he allowed five runs and four hits in one inning during a 12-4 Indians defeat.

But his May numbers show improvement. Including the epic Pina at-bat, McAllister has appeared in four games, pitched five innings and allowed only one run. His ERA this month is 1.80.

As one writer pointed out, most of McAllister's appearances have come in games in which the Indians have had little chance to win, because of blowouts or an ineffective offense.

Cleveland won only three of the 16 games in which McAllister has pitched. His mission in those losses has been to eat innings and preserve the rest of the bullpen.

McAllister, 30, is in his seventh big-league season, all with Cleveland. This past off-season, he signed a one-year deal worth $2.45 million, following a solid 2017. He was 2-2 with a 2.61 ERA and struck out 66 batters in 62 innings.

A return to those numbers could earn McAllister even more lucre leading into 2019, from the Indians or someone else.

Although McAllister's numbers so far this season aren't Tarzan-like, maybe that's a good thing, if the odiousness of the song heard on the way to work is any indication.