Tribe plans to use Bauer in leverage situations

Righty not lined up to pitch until Game 4, available for critical innings beforehand

October 2nd, 2018

CLEVELAND -- Expect to pitch for the Indians in the American League Division Series against the Astros. Whether the right-hander comes out of the bullpen to handle a leverage situation or takes the ball as a starter, Bauer is very much in Cleveland's postseason plans.
"I can see, if we get where we want to go, Trevor having a bigger hand in it than he realizes right now," Indians manager Terry Francona said during Tuesday's workout at Progressive Field.
Francona had previously made it known that ace (Game 1 on Friday) and righty (Game 2 at 4:37 p.m. ET on Saturday) will start for the AL Central champions in the first two games at Minute Maid Park. On Tuesday, Francona announced righty Mike Clevinger is slated to start Game 3 on Monday in Cleveland.
:: ALDS schedule and results ::
Depending on how the bullpen is used in the first few games, either Bauer or rookie Shane Bieber will start Game 4, if the ALDS extends that far. Francona reiterated that Cleveland wants to avoid a short-rest situation (Kluber returning for Game 4, for example), and the manager would prefer to have Bauer available for critical innings rather than hold him for a later game.
If the ALDS were to reach five games, Francona noted Carrasco would likely be available out of the bullpen, too.
"We're trying to take our roster and expand it a little bit," Francona explained.
Bauer, who sustained a stress fracture on Aug. 11, went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA, piling up 221 strikeouts against 57 walks in 175 1/3 innings. The righty returned from the disabled list Sept. 21 and made three appearances for the Indians down the stretch. In 9 1/3 innings after being activated, Bauer allowed two runs with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Bauer's highest pitch count since his return was 60 pitches against the White Sox, but he built up to around 80 with more throws in the bullpen after that start. He then worked four shutout innings of relief (51 pitches) in Sunday's regular-season finale against the Royals.
"Having [Bauer] as as starter can be really important," Francona said. "Again, we wouldn't use him without a leverage situation. But if we got some leverage, that's where we're going to try to figure it out. The other thing, too, is I don't know if I'd want him to go that long without pitching, so an inning or two wouldn't hurt him anyway."
Worth noting
• All-Star catcher was not in either lineup for Tuesday's intrasquad game at Progressive Field. Gomes still has two stitches in his right thumb due to the laceration sustained in Saturday's game in Kansas City, but the catcher was optimistic about being available for Game 1 of the ALDS.

"I'm hitting today and doing normal things today," Gomes said Tuesday. "It's all just a matter of kind of taking care of the stitches right now. ... Absolutely [I'll be ready for Game 1]. Right now, it just feels like a bad cut on my hand and it's on the outside, so it's fine. The ball's not going to rub against [the cut] or anything."
• Outfielder , who has been dealing with a right shoulder issue, did not play the final three regular-season games for the Indians. Guyer took part in Tuesday's intrasquad game, but he was instructed to track pitches.
"We expect him to be fine," Francona said. "We just don't want to push it."
• Utility man is no longer in MLB's concussion protocol and was unrestricted for Tuesday's intrasquad game. Gonzalez is vying for a spot on the ALDS bench, along with outfielders , and Guyer, plus corner infielder .