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Carrasco to follow Bauer Tuesday as ALDS prep

September 20, 2018

CLEVELAND -- Trevor Bauer worked seven strong innings against the Yankees in his last start of the first half, but the Indians' pitcher walked away with a no-decision for his effort. Thanks to a late rally by the Tribe offense, it was Carlos Carrasco who was credited with the win,

CLEVELAND -- Trevor Bauer worked seven strong innings against the Yankees in his last start of the first half, but the Indians' pitcher walked away with a no-decision for his effort. Thanks to a late rally by the Tribe offense, it was Carlos Carrasco who was credited with the win, following a rare relief appearance.
"He freaking vultured my win, man," Bauer quipped after that July 15 start.
Carrasco will have another opportunity to steal a win from Bauer on Tuesday.
"I hope he does," Indians manager Terry Francona said with a laugh.
Bauer is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Friday in order to make an abbreviated start against the Red Sox, beginning the pitcher's quest to reclaim a rotation job for the American League Division Series. Barring any setbacks for Bauer (coming back from a stress fracture in his right fibula), his next outing would fall on Tuesday on the road against the White Sox.
The way Cleveland's pitching schedule is aligned, Tuesday would have been Carrasco's day to start. Francona discussed the siituation with the big right-hander and Carrasco -- in the midst of a season in which he is 16-9 with a 3.35 ERA and 217 strikeouts against 37 walks in 182 2/3 innings -- agreed to instead come out of the bullpen after Bauer.

Francona added that it could be good for Carrasco -- projected to start Game 1 or Game 2 in the ALDS, which begins on Oct. 5 -- in case he is asked to come out of the bullpen at some point in the postseason.
"We're trying to figure out what we have with Trevor," Francona said. "So we want to try to let him start that game [Tuesday], just to give him the best chance to kind of succeed. So we talked to Carlos about that and, man, I was so proud of him. I mean, this is a kid that's one of the better pitchers in the league and he said, 'I'll follow him.' He goes, 'I've got no problem with that.' That's pretty cool.
"You're in Game 152 or whatever and you've got a guy that's pitching his heart out and he just said, 'Yeah, I'm fine with that.' And it also covers us, because Carlos has pitched out of the bullpen [in the past] and he's probably the one starter we have that we feel like we could potentially leverage when he's rested in a series out of the bullpen."
Rookie Shane Bieber, who would seemingly slide into a relief role in the event that Bauer is cleared for the ALDS rotation, is slated to follow Bauer in Friday's game against the Red Sox. Francona noted that Bieber will likely start another game before the end of the regular season. Ace Corey Kluber is the planned starter for Sept. 29 at Kansas City, positioning him for a potential Game 1 start in the ALDS.
Francona said the Indians are still working out how to handle the pitching for Sept. 30, when Cleveland concludes the regular-season slate against the Royals. It is possible that the Indians will have Bauer and Carrasco both work in that game, though who would start remained undetermined.
"We're trying to cover some things in the next 10 days and answer some questions, so we don't have to answer them when the playoffs start," Francona said. "We know what we have, and then we can go compete and see if we're good enough."
Worth noting
• Outfielders Lonnie Chisenhall (left calf) and Tyler Naquin (hip), who are both on the disabled list, are playing in simulated games at the team's complex in Arizona, per Francona. The manager said that the Indians want to keep building both players up not only for their own peace of mind but as insurance for the Major League roster.
"They're doing everything. I think we'd like to keep every option open," Francona said. "We've all seen things happen. It's certainly not perfect, because they haven't played, but I think, like in Naquin's situation, for him to have a normal offseason is important. So if he gears up and is ready to play in games, then he can have a normal offseason. That really helps him. In Lonnie's case, he's heading to free agency, and I think to be able to tell people he's healthy is really important."
• Third baseman Josh Donaldson, who came off the DL on Sept. 11, played in back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday and received a day off from starting Thursday. Francona said Donaldson should be cleared for three straight games soon, and the expectation is that he will be unrestricted by the time the postseason begins.
"By the time we get there, he'll be fine," Francona said. "I don't think that's going to be an issue."

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.