Tribe sets Wild Card series rotation order
CLEVELAND — The Indians have finalized their American League Wild Card Series starting rotation. The Tribe knew that Shane Bieber would be getting the ball in Game 1, but the order of who would follow him had not been determined until Sunday morning. The team announced that Carlos Carrasco will
CLEVELAND — The Indians have finalized their American League Wild Card Series starting rotation.
The Tribe knew that Shane Bieber would be getting the ball in Game 1, but the order of who would follow him had not been determined until Sunday morning. The team announced that Carlos Carrasco will get the ball in Game 2 and Zach Plesac will start in Game 3, if necessary.
Carrasco’s experience on a young pitching staff may have played a factor in the Indians’ decision. The 33-year-old made a start in the 2017 AL Division Series against the Yankees and the ’18 ALDS against the Astros. In those two outings, he owned a 1.64 ERA, allowing two runs in 11 frames with four walks and 10 strikeouts.
But Plesac certainly earned his way into the top three starters. In eight starts this season, he pitched to a 2.28 ERA with 57 strikeouts and six walks in 55 1/3 innings.
Preparing for any outcome
Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti sat down in front of his Zoom camera Sunday afternoon and jokingly asked reporters to raise their hands if they had every possible postseason scenario figured out.
“We have hotel reservations in four cities, meal plans in four different cities,” Antonetti said, “none of which we know where we’ll be for another six hours.”
The Tribe entered the final game of the regular season in a position to either finish fourth or seventh in the playoff rankings, with a possibility of five first-round opponents. This flow chart explains all paths that could lead to the outcomes.
If the Tribe does not secure home-field advantage, the team will fly out to the city of the No. 2 seed on Sunday night. Because the Indians have not known who their AL Wild Card Series opponent will be, the team will have an advance scouting meeting on Monday morning to do some last-minute preparation for the series.
And because the Indians’ fate has been dependent on the results of so many games over the past week, Antonetti said that he’s been keeping an eye on the scoreboards around the Majors.
“Not spending a tremendous amount of time worrying about who we’re going to play, but I’m a huge baseball fan and this has been a fun few days, given all the different scenarios,” Antonetti said. “It’s made our lives more complicated, but I think it’s been really good for the game and brought a lot of attention to it. But I’m watching all those games. I watch the late West Coast games with Oakland the other night when I got back to the hotel, so yeah, I’m tuning in.”
Tyler Naquin fouled a pitch off his foot in Saturday’s 8-0 loss to the Pirates. He later exited the game and was not in the starting lineup on Sunday. But Antonetti said that Naquin would be available off the bench.
“[Naquin is] a bit sore,” Antonetti said, “but available.”
Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.