The Cleveland Indians thought outside the box when ordering their starting rotation for the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees, so it’s only natural they made another unorthodox choice for Game 4. Trevor Bauer will start Monday night at Yankee Stadium (7 p.m. ET, FS1), pitching on three days rest for the first time in his career.
Bauer was magnificent in Game 1, striking out eight while keeping the Yankees scoreless in 6⅔ innings, allowing just two hits and a walk. He started that game because Cleveland opted to move ace Corey Kluber to Game 2, in part so Kluber could pitch Game 5 if necessary, on regular rest. The other factor was Bauer’s ability to bounce back quickly after starts.
“Flexibility was one of the things we talked about early on, and now it's going to get a chance to hopefully really help us,” Indians manager Terry Francona said Sunday night. “That's the idea.”
This is the first time Bauer will have pitched on three days rest in his career, though he has one of the more involved between-starts routine of any starting pitcher in the game.
“I consider this normal rest for me. I enjoy pitching on short, I guess, technical definition of short. But if I could draw it out, personally, this is how I’d pitch every time,” Bauer said. “Take my normal two days’ recovery after my start and then do my day-before routine today, and then roll it out there tomorrow. So I’m feeling very confident where I’m at.”
Starting pitching has struggled throughout this postseason. Through 12 games this October, through Sunday night’s games, major league starters have a cumulative 5.68 ERA, averaging just 4.22 innings per outing.
But Sunday night in New York, Masahiro Tankaka and Carlos Carrasco traded zeroes, with the only run of the game coming when Greg Bird homered against Andrew Miller in the seventh, lifting the Yankees to a 1-0 win to stay alive in the series.
Cleveland leads the best-of-five series, 2-1.