Bauer may be used out of bullpen in 'leverage situations'

Clevinger tabbed for Game 3 start

Alex Hooper
October 02, 2018 - 5:29 pm
Sep 30, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (47) shakes hands with catcher Eric Haase (38) after beating the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

© Peter G. Aiken

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Trevor Bauer may have the opportunity to be the 2018 Cleveland Indians version of 1999 Pedro Martinez. Though, Manager Terry Francona is hoping that things do not come to that.

The right-hander still has the potential to start in the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros, but it will not be in Game 3. Those duties will go to Mike Clevinger.

Bauer could start Game 4, unless he is used out of the bullpen in one of the first three games. If he were to be unavailable, Shane Bieber would start the second game in Cleveland.

The thought process is not as heavily connected with Bauer’s recovery from a stress fracture in his fibula as it is getting the righty in when it will help the team most. In a five game series, the team may not be able to wait until the third game to deploy their biggest wildcard.

Martinez famously exited the 1999 ALDS against the Indians with a back injury, only to return in a pivotal Game 5, tossing six scoreless innings in relief.

Francona reiterated that using Bauer out of the ‘pen is not his preferred outcome, and that he also wishes to avoid short-rest situations for his starters.

“It depends on the need,” the skipper said. “Trevor, having him as a starter can be really important. If we need him to help us win those other games, again, we wouldn’t use him without a leverage situation. But if we got some leverage, again, that’s where we’re going to try to figure it out.”

This is not to say that the look is completely without relation to Bauer’s injury. If he were at 100 percent, there is a likelihood that the Cy Young candidate would be starting one of the two games in Houston. Bauer’s previous two outings have spanned 60 and 51 pitches, respectively, making it unlikely that he would be used in a long-term role.

Form has certainly not been an issue for the 27-year-old. Since returning from the DL, Bauer has allowed two earned on nine hits through 9 1/3 innings. The righty earned his first career save on the final day of the regular season, allowing two hits over four innings to the Kansas City Royals.

The early jump to Bauer may be more easily facilitated by the potential availability of Game 2 starter Carlos Carrasco out of the bullpen in a potential Game 5.