Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber has what is being termed a "mild strain" of his quadriceps muscle. In the same Tweet, Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian says the expected timetable for his return to the mound is 7-10 days. That means Kluber's regular season is over (as are his chances of winning the Cy Young this season), but he should be able to rejoin the rotation for the ALDS, likely to pit the Tribe against the Rangers or Red Sox.
Game 1 of the ALDS will be next Thursday, October 6, which is nine days from now, so it's entirely possible Kluber will be on the mound for that one, but is also possible he's not quite ready. If Kluber isn't ready, Trevor Bauer would get the Game 1 start, unless of course he's struck down by some sort of injury between now and then too, in the baseball gods' effort to force the Indians to add Chris Gimenez to their postseason rotation.
The Indians announced today that Zach McAllister will start Wednesday's game against the Tigers, and Ryan Merritt will start on Thursday (also against Detroit). Neither of those two is stretched out to throw more than probably four or five innings tops, so it'll be a busy week for the Tribe bullpen. Good thing there are roughly 37 guys in that bullpen right now. Bauer will start Saturday's game, so that he's in position to start Game 1 of the ALDS on full rest, if needed. Josh Tomlin will start on either Friday or Sunday (in Kansas City), with Adam Plutko likely to start the other one of those two games. Plutko threw 45 pitches in Tuesday night's loss, making it somewhat more likely that he's start Sunday's game than Friday. Mike Clevinger could also start on Sunday, as he'd be on full rest, and only threw 43 pitches Tuesday.
If Tomlin starts Friday's game, and Kluber is back for Game 1 or 2, Tomlin would go nine days between his final regular season start and Game 3 of the ALDS. Some time off did him good earlier this month, so Francona might be fine with that, or he might prefer to hold Tomlin back until Sunday's game this weekend, which would still give him seven days' rest before Game 3.
While Kluber looked okay during Monday night's postgame celebration, it was a long day of waiting for word on the results of his MRI. A strained groin could have put him in danger of missing the entire ALDS, and a Kluber-less rotation would have increased the chances that the ALDS would be the only postseason games the Tribe would have this season. Obviously we wish Kluber didn't have any sort of injury at all (and the same for Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, while we're busy wishing), and we won't know until we see him on the mound if he really seems to be 100% or not. Tentatively, I'll call the MRI results good news though, as they mean Kluber might still be able to win two of the three games needed to advance to the ALCS.