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ALCS Roster: Merritt added, Gimenez dropped

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Ryan Merritt replaces Chris Gimenez on the roster

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals
Ryan Merritt
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

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Oct 14 2016

Each team has an opportunity to make changes to their roster between playoff series, as long as the players being added are eligible (on 40-man roster as of Aug 31, and not suspended for a PED during the current season). The Indians have made one minor move with the change from a 5-game series to a 7-game series.

The main issue for the Indians this series is the Game 4 starter. The Indians were going to just use 3 starters in the ALDS even if the series went the full 5 games, but in the ALCS that’s really not feasible because of off day spacing. For the Indians to use only 3 starters in the ALCS, they’d have to bring back the Game 1 starter (Kluber) on 3 days’ rest for Game 4, the Game 2 starter (Bauer) on 3 days’ rest for Game 5, the Game 3 starter (Tomlin) on 3 days’ rest for Game 6, and the Game 4 starter (Kluber again) on 3 days’ rest for Game 7. That would mean from Game 4 onward, every start would be by a pitcher on short rest. So while the Tribe’s options aren’t very good with Salazar and Carrasco unavailable, a “bullpen game” is preferable to the alternative.

The Indians are going to send Mike Clevinger to the mound to start Game 4, and would use their other front end relievers to get the game to the middle innings. To lessen the burden on the bullpen, the Indians are replacing Chris Gimenez with Ryan Merritt on the ALCS roster. Merritt could be used in tandem with Clevinger in Game 4, or used in case there’s a blowout in another game and Terry Francona doesn’t want to use his key relievers. Merritt made four appearances with the Indians this season, with his most recent one coming on September 30; it was his lone major-league start, and was very impressive (5.0 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 4 strikeouts).

Danny Salazar could have been used as that additional reliever, but the Indians decided against that because Danny isn’t 100% yet.