CLEVELAND -- Speculation and reporting around the Indians leading up to the World Series was that given their rotation injuries, ace Corey Kluber might be used in Games 1, 4 and 7. Obviously Game 7 is an if necessary situation, but that is, indeed, the plan. Manager Terry Francona confirmed it on Wednesday.
It had been the plan all along, Francona said, but he didn't want to announce it out of fairness to his player.
"I just didn't want to put Klubs in a tough spot by saying that before he pitched," Francona said. "I didn't think it was fair to him, but he's all set to pitch [Game 4].
Things can change based upon the flow of the game. Needless to say, things couldn't have gone better for Kluber and Francona in Game 1, so now Kluber is perfectly lined up to be a starter in three games of a seven-game series, if it comes to that.
Kluber, 30, was 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 227 strikeouts in 215 innings during the regular season. Thus far in the postseason, he's 3-1 with a 0.74 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings.
Francona has never done this before, despite his extensive managerial experience in the playoffs.
"The reason I hadn't done it before is that I didn't think it would help us," Francona said.
He also explained that the way they plan on the series is by giving his team the best chance to win four games instead of reacting to the results -- such as falling behind in a series and then changing the order of the rotation in order to stay alive. It's a proactive approach instead of reactive and a better mentality. It's go win the series instead of "try not to lose the series."
There's a difference and Francona's Indians have thus far embodied that difference in the postseason, having won eight of their nine games.
With Kluber on the hill potentially twice more in the World Series, they have a good shot to bring the World Series trophy to Cleveland for the first time since Lou Boudreau was a player-manager who won the AL MVP.