Indians sticking with six-man rotation for now

Staff went a combined 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA the first time through

July 28th, 2017

CHICAGO -- The Indians' rotation hardly looks broken, so pitching coach Mickey Callaway sees no reason to fix it. Given the success of the group one time through with six starting pitchers, Cleveland plans on sticking with the approach for this six-game swing through Chicago and Boston.

"It's tough to put anybody in the 'pen right now, given how everybody is pitching," Callaway said prior to Friday's game agains the White Sox. "Something's going to happen eventually where it's going to make sense for us not to have six guys in the rotation. But, if everybody is dealing and we're winning games, we'll stick with it for as long as possible."

When came off the disabled list and rejoined the Tribe's rotation on Saturday, the team decided to go with a six-man rotation for one turn. Over those six games, Cleveland's starting staff went a combined 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA, 44 strikeouts, six walks and a .224 opponents' average in 39 1/3 innings.

Tthe Indians will stick with Salazar, and Josh Tomlin (in that order) for the current three-game weekend series against the White Sox, with Mike Clevinger (Monday), (Tuesday) and (Wednesday) each taking the ball in the following road set against the Red Sox.

Indians manager Terry Francona was quick to remind that everything is subject to change.

"If somebody gets tripped up or something happens," Francona said, "we kind of reserve the right to [make a change]. ... We know we're not going to stay like that. It's just too hard to do it for a long period of time. But, for right now, I think we're all OK with it."

Salazar, Tomlin, Bauer and Clevinger would be the candidates to move to the bullpen, even if only temporarily. While the six-man staff is intact, Callaway said he will stay in communication with Kluber about whether the team's ace wants to stay on a five-day routine, or be given an extra day off. Callaway said the Indians might also considering rotating two pitchers in and out of the bullpen, based on upcoming matchups.

For now, Callaway said he is just thrilled that the starters have turned the situation into a friendly competition.

"All of them know that somebody's going to get put in the 'pen eventually," said the pitching coach. "And I think all of them would be willing to go, but I think in the meantime, they're like, 'You know what? I don't want to be that guy.' So, I think it has kind of created a little bit of a healthy competition in the rotation. And, we've seen in the past, when we start having that, our starting pitchers really take off."