As expected, Cleveland Indians ace and cyborg superhero Corey Kluber will start Game 1 of the 2016 World Series. This isn’t a surprise of course. I knew he would start Game 1, you knew he would start Game 1, the Chicago Cubs knew he would star Game 1, that guy at work who claimed he was “always a Cubs fan” but never watched a game of baseball before probably knew Kluber would start Game 1.
But it sure is fun to it type out loud. Corey Kluber is starting Game 1 of the World Series.
Kluber has pitched 18.1 innings this postseason, including two starts in the ALCS. In just over two game’s worth of innings, Kluber has 20 strikeouts with seven walks and two earned runs. Both runs came in his last start of the ALCS, the Tribe’s only loss of the postseason so far.
Kluber has been a beacon of stability for the Tribe all season long, even as their rotation suffered multiple injuries well into October. Following him, things have always been a bit tricky and they were made worse when Trevor Bauer lacerated his pinky finger on a drone before his ALCS start last week. But things are mostly set in place for the Fall Classic now.
Tribe will open with Kluber, Bauer and Tomlin. If Bauer needs more time with finger, he could start Game 3.— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) October 23, 2016
Because of Bauer’s injury, his exact spot in the rotation is up in the air. The Indians hope he can start Game 2, but it will all depend on how his injury has healed. If he cannot go for Game 2, Josh Tomlin is expected to take the spot. A big benefit of Bauer starting Game 2 is that he would not have to bat at all, which could help avoid further injury to his stitched-up finger.
Nothing has been confirmed past those three. However, based on the ALCS, we may see the Indians turn to Ryan Merritt in Game 4 or even Mike Clevinger.
No matter what Merritt does for the rest of his career, he already carved out his own place in Indians lore with his series-clinching performance in Game 5 of the ALCS. He pitched just 4.1 innings, but held the Toronto Blue Jays to two hits and zero walks. If Clevinger gets the call in Game 4, it could end up as a bullpen day — he has not pitched more than 4.0 innings since September 22.