DETROIT -- Before a steady rain began falling on Comerica Park, forcing a tarp over the diamond and eventually necessitating a postponement on Friday night, the Indians were planning on having reliever Dan Otero start one of Saturday's doubleheader games against the Tigers.Cleveland no longer needs to take that unconventional
DETROIT -- Before a steady rain began falling on Comerica Park, forcing a tarp over the diamond and eventually necessitating a postponement on Friday night, the Indians were planning on having reliever Dan Otero start one of Saturday's doubleheader games against the Tigers.
Cleveland no longer needs to take that unconventional approach. Due to Friday's rainout, the Indians will bump right-hander Josh Tomlin to Game 1 on Saturday, with righty Carlos Carrasco taking the ball in the nightcap. As for Otero, he can remain in his relief role in the bullpen, rather than making his first career start.
"I haven't told him yet," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said with a laugh. "No, he's OK. Obviously, he'd rather stay in his role, I'm sure."
Friday's postponed game will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Sept. 1 in Detroit.
The Indians' original plan was to start Tomlin on Friday, with Carrasco starting the day game in Saturday's twin bill at Comerica Park. Then, depending on whether Otero pitched on Friday or was needed in the opener of the doubleheader, the righty was the planned starter for a "bullpen day" in Game 2.
Left-hander Ryan Merritt was in Detroit on Friday and will remain the 26th man for Saturday's doubleheader, following a promotion from Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland did not want to start him against the Tigers, though, because Detroit's lineup is predominantly right-handed. That is one reason for the Indians planning on giving the start to Otero.
The all-hands-on-deck approach for the bullpen would've been nothing new. Last year, Cleveland led the American League with seven games (four in September) featuring eight or more pitchers. The Indians also had two postseason games (Game 3 of the AL Championship Series and Game 2 of the World Series) that included seven pitchers.
"This bullpen is so much fun to work with," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "They take so much pride in being available. They don't protect their stats ever. They pitch. There's some days where guys might give up a run or two, but they were available, and in the long run, they help us."
The Indians did not necessarily mind giving their arms an unexpected day off, though. Prior to the rainout, the Indians had not enjoyed an off-day since June 12, and the team was facing a stretch of 22 games in 20 days. The postponement allowed the Tribe's staff to take a breather and get back in order.
"The usage of our bullpen the last few days," Callaway said, "we had a lot of decisions to make about who was going to be available tonight from a protection standpoint, and how we wanted to use guys. So, this is going to help us out a little bit, give everybody an extra day. And it helps our starters.
"We don't have to start Otero and lose him for the game that would've been today and some games after once we stretched him out. So, it's really going to help him a lot."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.