CLEVELAND — Terry Francona confirmed Wednesday afternoon what he strongly hinted at late Tuesday night.
Cleveland ace Corey Kluber will be pitching Game 4 of the World Series on short rest and, if necessary, Game 7 as well.
It also means the Indians will bring back Trevor Bauer, their Game 2 starter, on short rest, and Game 3 starter, Josh Tomlin, as well.
“That was probably Plan A [for the series],” Francona said Wednesday.
Still, he had to see how Game 1 went and, from his standpoint, it could not have gone much better. Kluber threw six shutout innings in a 6-0 victory over the Cubs, improving to 3-1 with a 0.74 ERA in four starts this postseason, removed after throwing 88 pitches.
“Part of taking him out then was with that in mind,” Francona said. “We got him out of there. He knew why, and he’s ready to go.”
Kluber has started on three-days’ rest exactly one time in his career — in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays. The 30-year-old was OK, allowing two runs, four hits and two walks in five innings of a 5-1 Cleveland loss.
It is not an optimal situation, trying to win a World Series with three starting pitchers, but Francona felt he had no choice. His rotation lost Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar to injuries in September so the Indians entered the postseason shorthanded. Salazar was activated for the Series but for a relief role.
“I think they’re all situated to handle it,” Francona said of the three starters.
MLB to discuss logo
Commissioner Rob Manfred pledged Wednesday to meet with Indians owner Paul Dolan after the World Series to discuss the future of the team’s Chief Wahoo logo, which many feel to be a racist caricature of Native Americans that must be retired.
“I know that this particular logo is offensive to some, and all of us at Major League Baseball understand why,” Manfred said before Game 2 at Progressive Field. “Logos are, however, primarily a local matter. The local club makes decisions about its logos. Fans get attached to logos. They become part of a team’s history. So it’s not as easy coming to the conclusion and realizing that the logo is offensive to some segment.”
In response to public outcry, a number of schools have changed their nicknames and logos, including St. John’s, which switched from the Redmen to the Red Storm. The efforts have been less successful at the professional level, however, with the Indians and the NFL’s Redskins resisting the protests.
“I’ve talked to Mr. Dolan about this issue,” Manfred said. “We’ve agreed away from the World Series, at an appropriate time, we’ll have a conversation about this.”