As the Indians continue marching toward the AL Central title, they're giving thought to their playoff rotation. Specifically, they're making plans to work around the injury-related absences of Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. On that front, here's this from Yahoo's Jeff Passan:
Sources: Cleveland discussing three-man postseason rotation with Kluber and Bauer on short rest, Tomlin/Clevinger piggyback or alternating.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 19, 2016
Presumptuous on the part of the Tribe? Not at all. They'll enter play on Monday with a seven-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central. In matters related, the SportsLine Projection System gives Cleveland a 99.8 percent chance of hanging on for the division title. So they're going the playoffs, and they'll almost certainly advance straight the division series.
Because of the frequent off days starting with that division series, teams needs just four starters in the playoffs. The Indians, though, are light on starters thanks to the aforementioned injuries to Carrasco (fractured hand) and Salazar (forearm strain). There's a chance that Salazar could be back by the middle of October, so if the Indians go deep in the postseason then he might be an option. For that first round, though, they'll be compromised.
Regarding Passan's scoop, if Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger "piggyback," then they each work shorter stints in the same game, as some teams do in the minors with their top pitching prospects. If they alternate, then that would in essence be a traditional playoff rotation, albeit with Terry Francona primed to go to the bullpen early -- perhaps after the starter's second time through the order -- when Tomlin and Clevinger start.
As for the prospect of starting Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer on short rest, neither has ever made a start on fewer than four days' rest. Such an approach would be risky, to say the least, and the history of pitchers' starting on short rest in the playoffs isn't particularly encouraging. However, the Indians aren't long on options at the moment.