"We lost a really good pitcher yesterday, probably one of the better pitchers in the league, but, I don't think anybody's in here feeling sorry for ourselves because of it. I don't think there's a gloomy outlook or anything. Other guys have pitched well up to this point to get us where we are now, so I don't think there's any reason why we can't continue to going forward." - Corey Kluber
The Cleveland Indians have overcome some huge obstacles this season, yet none will be bigger than the one handed to them on Saturday. Cleveland was in game two of a huge three game series with the Detroit Tigers, and on the second pitch of the game Ian Kinsler hit a line drive right into the pitching hand of Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, which caused a season ending injury for the right hander. While this should not derail the rest of the Indians regular season, as they have a seven game lead in first place with a magic number of seven, but it puts some real concern on the Tribe's postseason.
Cleveland has been one of the best offensive teams in baseball, but their team is still built around starting pitching - a great recipe for success in October baseball. The problem for Cleveland is that Carrasco is the second starter who will be unavailable for postseason play, joining 2016 All-star Danny Salazar on the disabled list. The postseason rotation typically consists of four pitchers, and the Tribe has lost half of the four they would have used.
"To lose a guy like that, it hurts. He's an unbelievable pitcher. For us, we've just got to step up and try to keep winning games and see what happens." - Josh Tomlin
If the playoffs started today, the Cleveland rotation would likely begin with Corey Kluber, who is making a strong case for his second Cy Young award, Trevor Bauer, who has been inconsistent but stepped up when the Indians need him to, Josh Tomlin, who got off to an incredible start in 2016 but has struggled since the All-star break, and rookie Mike Clevinger. The initial reaction of many has been to count them out and assume they will be done in the first round of the playoffs, but the Tribe isn't giving in.
“I know some people have said the season is over. They pronounced it yesterday, wrote articles about it. I think it’s complete [bull].” - Trevor Bauer
“Don’t get me wrong: It absolutely sucks, losing those two guys, that’s something that’s going to be difficult to come back from. But, if there is a team that’s capable of doing it, it’s this team. We’ve played without Brantley the entire year and have been doing OK. We’ve played spurts without Danny and Carlos and we’ve managed to do OK. I think everybody in here, it almost makes you have a little bit more motivation, because you want to do it so bad for those guys who aren’t here to help us do it in their own right.” - catcher Chris Gimenez
“Losing Carlos and losing Danny hurts, and we feel bad for them, but, no one questions that Josh can step in or Mike Clevinger can step in or [Ryan] Merritt or [Adam] Plutko or whoever else, Cody Anderson, whoever is going to start. I think you saw yesterday we got a lot of guys in the bullpen, a lot of guys on this team, that can go out there and put up zeros and be very competitive.” - Trevor Bauer
"I think that up to this point, and it would be the same thing moving forward, it hasn't been one of those things where we've felt sorry for ourselves because of whether it be for Brant's injury or Yan's or Danny's or now Carlos'. I think it's one of those things where guys maybe pull together because of it and everybody's looking to cary their own weight and not necessarily try to shoulder more of a load or anything like that. It's everybody trying to pull together. You can't really quantify the heart, but I think there's a lot of guys with big hearts in this clubhouse, too, and that counts for something." - Corey Kluber
One thing that has caused waves in the Indians clubhouse is this article written by Paul Hoynes, an Indians beat reporter for the Plain Dealer. While Hoynes argues that he is simply doing his job and stating his opinions, the Indians won't buy it.
It may be a lot to overcome for the Indians, but it can be done. The MLB playoffs are one of the most, if not the most unpredictable thing in sports, and there have been bigger odds overcome than this. Anything can happen, and Cleveland is confident that they can overcome this and make a deep run in October. Danny Salazar is expected to be able to come out of the bullpen in the playoffs, but should they make a deep run they may be able to squeeze a start or two out of him.
“We have to make sure that these guys are all prepared to do whatever job they’re going to do when it comes to the postseason. The good thing is Kluber and Bauer can probably pitch every fourth day, or whenever you need them to. Bauer’s arm never hurts and Kluber’s just a beast. That helps. But, we’re going to prepare guys for the postseason and, if we get in, we’ll go from there.” - Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway