Just about everyone was shocked when the Indians announced that Trevor Bauer, not Cy Young Award candidate Corey Kluber, would be starting Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Yankees on Thursday night.
After all, Kluber was absolutely dominant down the stretch, going 5-0 with an 0.84 ERA in six starts in September to win his third American League Pitcher of the Month award this season. He's the ace of the staff. I mean, it's a slam dunk decision, right? Nope.
"We had a ton of meetings about this to make sure we're doing the right thing," Tribe pitching coach Mickey Callaway told our Jim Donovan on Wednesday. "After all of the meetings that we had and all the information, it made some sense to do what we're gonna do."
By starting Bauer, the Indians will be able to keep ace right-hander and AL Cy Young Award candidate Corey Kluber on his schedule of pitching every five days, as he will start Game 2 at Progressive Field Friday afternoon. By starting Kluber in Game 2, the Indians could go back to him on regular rest should the ALDS go to a winner-take-all Game 5.
Here are two other things to keep in mind: Bauer beat the Yankees twice this season. He was also 10-4 with a 3.93 ERA with 116 strikeouts against 25 walks allowed in 103.0 innings of work in 17 starts at Progressive Field in 2017.
Bauer finished the regular season with a 17-9 record and 4.19 ERA in 32 games, including 31 starts. Over 176.1 innings of work. Bauer registered 196 strikeouts against 60 walks allowed.
"We're going to know if he's (Bauer) is on when the finished product comes in after he pitches," Callaway added.
Watch Jimmy's complete interview with Mickey Callaway above.