The staff is just as good
You don’t get to be the defending World Champs by not knowing how to pitch, and the Astros boast an excellent starting rotation.
The Indians’ aren’t too shabby, becoming for the first staff in MLB history to boast four hurlers who recorded 200 strikeouts.
Corey Kluber is a 20-game winner and the ace of the staff. The Klubot is healthy, after dealing with back issues during his brutal 2017 ALDS outings against the New York Yankees.
Carlos Carrasco might still be one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball. Nationally, nobody talks about this guy and all he did was go 16-10 with 225 strikeouts and a 3.42 ERA.
Clevinger is one of the best bargains in baseball. He was 13-8 with a 3.02 ERA and 207 strikeouts in 200 innings. Hitting that workload was a preseason goal for the hard throwing right-hander.
Bauer was in the short conversation to be the Cy Young Award winner until a freak line drive went off his foot, causing a fracture.
He’s back now, as his 2.26 ERA ranks second in the AL, while his 219 strikeouts are still good enough for sixth.
Francona is credited with re-inventing the way bullpens are used during the postseason, but he’s in a position to lean more on his staff this time around.
If the Indians truly want to be regarded as one of the best staff’s in baseball, the rotation must act like, and that means dominating in the postseason. They’re workhorses, with Kluber and Clevinger eclipsing 200 innings.
The staff is capable, but now it comes down to execution in October.