Indians set roster for ALDS vs. Astros

Bauer available out of 'pen for long, high-leverage relief

October 4th, 2018

HOUSTON -- With little drama in the American League Central and the Indians' place in the postseason locked in fairly early, Cleveland had ample time to pore over the Astros' roster. That process, in turn, led the Tribe to make some interesting decisions concerning its own cast for the AL Division Series.

The Indians' final ALDS roster was officially announced this morning ahead of Game 1, but manager Terry Francona had detailed his plans over the past few days. The most intriguing development was making it known that righty -- an AL Cy Young Award contender for most of the season -- would be available out of the bullpen initially as a leverage weapon.

:: ALDS schedule and results ::

"They present so many challenges," Francona said of the Astros. "The one thing that I think they've really done for the last couple years, they play until it's time to go home. Sometimes you'll beat them, but they might just have [run] out of outs. They keep coming at you. You've got to pay attention to detail. They're fun to play, though, because they've got so many good players, so many good pitchers."

Starting pitchers

will take the ball in Game 1, followed by in Game 2 on Saturday and Mike Clevinger in Game 3 on Monday. If the Indians and Astros play to Game 4, Cleveland will choose between Bauer and Shane Bieber for that start. Should the ALDS reach a decisive Game 5, Kluber would be positioned to return on five days' rest.

Relievers

The Game 4 decision between Bauer and Bieber is related to the bullpen picture. There is a good chance that Bauer will be used as a multi-inning leverage arm, especially with so many tough right-handed hitters in Houston's lineup. Bauer's workload in the early games will impact who starts Game 4.

The Tribe's bullpen has endured plenty of ups and downs this year, but the team feels and are positioned for improvement in October. All-Star Brad Hand is present for leverage work, too. Expect lefty and righty to be used as specialists, with ground-ball specialist Dan Otero rounding out the cast.

Infielders

In order to accommodate the arrival of third baseman Josh Donaldson, shifted to second base for the final month of the season. Donaldson, who missed three months with a calf issue earlier this year, is back to full strength. Shortstop and Ramirez give Cleveland one of the most dynamic up-the-middle duos in baseball. will get the bulk of the work at first base, but and can play there as well.

Ramirez's unexpected excellence in 2018

Outfielders

Once Ramirez moved to second, exited the infield and took over as the Indians' primary center fielder. Kipnis has held his own at the position, but the Tribe will not hesitate to send rookie in as a late-inning defensive replacement. is locked in for left field, while handled most of the innings in right. Both and can offer defensive protection for the corners. Allen and Davis also give Cleveland a pair of stolen-base threats off the bench.

Catchers

On the final Saturday of the regular season, came up firing when Kansas City's attempted to steal second. was at the plate and swung on the play, letting his bat linger on the backswing. Gomes' right hand hit Gordon's bat at full force, resulting in a laceration that required two stitches. During Thursday's workout, Gomes threw to bases and took batting practice with no issues and has "no restrictions," per Francona. has filled the starter shoes before, so he will be at the ready behind Gomes as usual.

Here is the roster:

Pitchers (11)

Cody Allen

Trevor Bauer

Shane Bieber

Carlos Carrasco

Adam Cimber

Mike Clevinger

Brad Hand

Corey Kluber

Andrew Miller

Dan Otero

Oliver Perez

Catchers (2)

Yan Gomes

Roberto Perez

Infielders (6)

Yonder Alonso

Yandy Diaz

Josh Donaldson

Edwin Encarnacion

Francisco Lindor

Jose Ramirez

Outfielders (6)

Greg Allen

Michael Brantley

Melky Cabrera

Rajai Davis

Brandon Guyer

Jason Kipnis