CHICAGO -- The Indians are not ready to announce what role Trevor Bauer might play during the American League Division Series against the Astros. All that is known for now is that the right-hander's next appearance will be during Sunday's regular-season finale.Prior to Wednesday's game against the White Sox, Indians
CHICAGO -- The Indians are not ready to announce what role Trevor Bauer might play during the American League Division Series against the Astros. All that is known for now is that the right-hander's next appearance will be during Sunday's regular-season finale.
Prior to Wednesday's game against the White Sox, Indians manager Terry Francona announced that Carlos Carrasco will start on Sunday in Kansas City, with Bauer entering out of the bullpen. That is the reverse of how Cleveland approach the pitchers' respective workloads on Tuesday, when Bauer started and Carrasco got his innings out of the 'pen in a 5-4 loss in Chicago.
When and how Bauer is used in the American League Division Series is still under discussion behind the scenes.
"We talked to Trev today," Francona said Wednesday. "We need to get through the season first, because you don't want to announce something and then have to undo it. But we did try to give him some guidance in what we're looking to do, just so he can prepare and things like that."
Here is what is known: Corey Kluber and Carrasco project as the Game 1 (Oct. 5) and Game 2 (Oct. 6) starters, respectively, against the Astros in the ALDS. Francona indicated that right-hander Mike Clevinger is currently in line for Game 3, but that is not set in stone. Bauer would be the logical choice for Game 4 (if necessary), but the Indians may also want him available out of the bullpen early in the series.
"We're not ready to do those things," Francona said, of revealing the team's plans.
During Tuesday's game, Bauer logged 60 pitches (43 strikes) in four innings and allowed two runs on five hits with four strikeouts and no walks. The righty tested out all his pitches, added another 15-20 off the mound in the Guarateed Rate Field bullpen and averaged 93.3 mph with his four-seam fastball (topping out at 96.3 mph), per Statcast™.
"I'm ready," Bauer said following Tuesday's outing. "I should be good to go for 85 [pitches next time] out and then cleared for just normal activity."
Francona noted that Carrasco, who logged 81 pitches in 4 1/3 innings in Tuesday's loss, is scheduled for around 75-80 pitches against the Royals on Sunday.
Bauer, who is two starts into a return from the disabled list following six weeks down due to a stress fracture in his right fibula, is 12-6 with a 2.26 ERA in 27 starts. The righty has 219 strikeouts against 57 walks in 171 1/3 innings, and was a clear-cut AL Cy Young Award contender prior to his injury.
"I've been recovering super well," Bauer said. "My stuff has been good. I'm still just a tad out of sync mechanically, which is to be expected after missing six weeks. So, I would fully expect that to be better next time. It was better [Tuesday] than it was the first time out."
• When the A's lost in extra innings to the Mariners late Tuesday night, the defending World Series-champion Astros clinched the AL West crown. With the Indians already locked into the AL's three-seed, that assured Cleveland would head to Houston for the best-of-five ALDS, which begins Oct. 5 at Minute Maid Park.
"They're good. They're really good," Francona said. "The one thing I've been impressed with -- when we've played them, and when I've watched them -- is they play start to finish really well. Even when we've beaten them, man, it's like, 'They're coming.' That's why they've been fun to play, because they're talented and they keep playing. They present a lot of issues, but it's fun to play them, because they're so good."
• The White Sox had runners on second and third with one out in ninth inning, when the Indians were clinging to a 4-3 lead. Even with lefty Brad Hand warming in the bullpen, and first base open, Francona had Carrasco face left-handed slugger Daniel Palka, who delivered a two-run, walk-off single. Francona noted he would have managed differently, but Carrasco needed to build up his pitch count.
"We could've had the lefty and then make them pinch-hit and do some things," Francona said. "We had an open base. When they were doing the [replay] challenge, we could've gone out, brought in a righty, walked the lefty, see what [White Sox] do. We could've really [done a lot of things], but [we wanted to] let Carrasco finish it."
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.