The Cleveland Indians are getting to cute in their decision to start Mike Clevinger, rather than Trevor Bauer vs. the Houston Astros in the 2018 ALDS.
Bauer was probably the front runner for the AL Cy Young Award when a line drive back to the mound put him on the DL down the stretch, costing him the accolade.
It’d be one thing if he was injured, but he’s not. He’s back, healthly, got his feet wet in September and will be on the postseason roster…and he’s going to be in the bullpen.
If Clevinger gets a quick hook, it may be Bauer the Indians’ turn to.
Why get cute about it? Just start him!
Especially with the Astros set up to start lefty Dallas Keuchel in Game 3, which is looking more and more like a difficult game to win against a tough left hander.
Critics of my point may point to the Indians decision to use Bauer in Game 4, if there should be one.
Again, what is Terry Francona waiting for?
The Indians haven’t played played meaningful baseball in five months. It’s time to throw out all of the stops and if the guy is healthy enough to pitch, use him.
Bauer finished the year 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and 221 strikeouts in 175.1 innings.
If there’s one argument I can buy into, it’s that Bauer may be better wired to come out of the bullpen. Plus, with his hammer of a curveball, he could be more lethal than Clevinger in relief.
Fox Sports analyst Jensen Lewis had an interesting take on Bauer coming out of the pen. He believes the All-Star won’t be off limits to pitch out of the pen in multiple games.
"“No Astros pitcher would see a pitcher twice, outside of the starting pitchers, creates a more daunting task for Houston to make in-game adjustments.”"
The plan sounds great, but what if you never get to that point?
I”ve been of the opinion that the Indians have returned to the postseason based off how excellent their rotation has performed. Tribe starters really hit a different stratosphere when four of their hurlers recorded 200 strikeouts–Clevinger being one of those players.
Clevinger is a really good player and he’s getting better. He ended the regular season with a 13-8 (3.02 ERA).
But Bauer is the more talented player.
The rotation, not the bullpen, is what makes this this team a World Series contender–and it’s time for them to act like they know how their bread is buttered.
Now’s not the time to get cute. Start your best.