Masahiro Tanaka split through the Indians lineup on Sunday night, ultimately forcing a Game 4 in Yankees Stadium. The Indians have a 2-1 series lead approaching Monday night’s, which is *scheduled* for 7:08 p.m. Eastern Time. That schedule is tentative, however, because New York is expecting a slew of rain throughout the evening.
Immediately following the 1-0 loss in Game 3, the Indians nixed plans to start Josh Tomlin and dubbed Game 1 winning pitcher Trevor Bauer the starter for Game 4. Should the game proceed as scheduled, this creates an interesting dynamic in the teams’ pitching plans. With ace Corey Kluber slated for Game 5 (if necessary), and a potential day off before then, Francona does not have to worry about wasting bullets on Monday night.
The decision to throw Bauer on short rest is no substantial surprise. After all, it was Bauer who put his cleats back on to pitch in the marathon Game 2 if needed, only one day after throwing 98 pitches in a 4-0 win. Pitchers, though, have not fared well in this scenario in the past. At the beginning of last year’s playoff action, the Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg wrote an interesting piece about starters pitching on three days rest in the postseason. In it, Neil noted that the previous 121 starts made by pitchers on three days or less rest had not gone exceptionally well, especially considering that teams are far more likely to use their highest caliber of pitching in such scenarios. Ranging from 1995 to 2015, these 121 outings featured an earned run average of 4.35 and were essentially a toss-up on wins and losses.
If anyone is capable of diminishing the three days or less disadvantage, though, it’s Trevor Bauer, who is predictably confident about his abilities to recoup quickly.
The kid is definitely a competitor. But given his 6 2/3 innings on Friday night, how will Terry Francona look to deploy his arms in a potential series-ending game?
Trevor Bauer (2-5 innings)
The Game 1 star will kick things off, but the leash will be short. His 2017 time through the order splits are a bit noisy, but there are two noticeable trends: walk rate and home run rate. In his first time through the order, he gives up fewer home runs and issues more walks. Throughout his career, he has yielded 4.37 walks per nine innings the first time through and has gotten progressively better as the lineup turns over. The opposite is true regarding home runs, in which he allows 0.91 per nine against a lineup the first time, only to lend way to more as the lineup flips.
Gage is a Sandusky, Ohio native who has been transplanted to Findlay. Cleveland sports struck at a young age, in the 1990s heyday of the Indians. Caroming a tennis ball off of front steps to emulate Omar Vizquel birthed a passion for the Indians, clanging jumpers off the back rim channeled Brevin Knight, and Tim Couch proved that football was only wise if you had capable blockers.