Indians bullpen unusually well-situated to carry load following Bauer's finger injury

If you tuned in late to Monday night's ALCS game 3 between the Indians and Blue Jays, odds are you missed Trevor Bauer's start.

Bauer, originally slated to start Game 2, was pushed back to Game 3 after he suffered a lacerated pinky Friday while repairing his drone. He tried pitching through the condition, yet was removed after two-thirds of an inning when Toronto manager John Gibbons asked the umpire to examine his dripping finger. The result was Indians skipper Terry Francona turning to his bullpen, summoning reliever Dan Otero

Trevor Bauer left in the first inning. USATSI

Or, more to the point, the result was the Indians bullpen being tasked with throwing eight-plus innings in the first of three consecutive games. But, for as aggressively as Francona has deployed his relievers, the Indians bullpen was unusually well-situated to carry the load.

That's because Francona's opportunism has been limited to three relievers: Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and Bryan Shaw. In the Indians' first five postseason games, the only other reliever to make an appearance was Otero. Meanwhile, the rest of the bullpen -- the other four members -- hadn't appeared whatsoever.

Obviously the Indians would rather not had to turn to their bullpen in the first inning -- no matter how well-rested half their 'pen was -- but conditions could've been worse. It helps that those four relievers include multiple swingman types (Mike Clevinger, Cody Anderson, and Zach McAllister) as well as Otero and Jeff Manship, who combined for 35 multi-inning appearances during the regular season.


*With Cleveland

So, no, the Indians didn't want to lose Bauer when they did. But that doesn't mean they're going to be devastated for the ensuing three days. Rather, depending on how things go, this could be viewed as an opportunity for their other relievers to shake off two weeks' worth of rust.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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