Tony Lastoria's answers your Tribe questions
There have been many fan questions to my @TonyIBI account about the Indians closer and the rest of the Tribe season. Here are some of the most common questions and responses. Q: What happens if we tie with just the Rangers for the second Wildcard spot? A: A one game playoff (considered the 163rd regular season game) on Monday in Cleveland and the winner goes to Tampa for the Wildcard game on Wednesday. The Indians get home field in the one game playoff because of their 5-1 record vs. the Rangers this season. Q: When do the Indians reset their roster? A: For the Wildcard game the postseason roster is set for just that game. If the Indians win and go to the ALDS they can reset again. If the Indians were to tie with Texas and play a play-in game, that is considered regular season game and they would keep their current expanded roster.
Q: In the Wildcard game, wouldn't you want one other starter in case the game starter falters early? A: Yep, which is why you go with 9-10 pitchers (1 SP, 1-2 LR, 7-8 RP). Q: Any idea why Pestano isn't being used? A: He's not an option at this point. He performed poorly before going to Columbus and had some struggles there. He should be done this weekend and won't be on the playoff roster. I still think he's playing through an injury. Q: Do you like Justin Masterson in the closer role? A: The problem is you can't make him a closer AND make sure he gets needs work. There is no guarantee the closer is even needed. That's why he probably stays in mid-relief this weekend. I am totally fine with Masterson as a closer in the playoffs, but only if the Indians believe he has no chance to start in the American League Division Series. He has more value as a starting pitcher, so if he can start, he absolutely should start. Q: What about Danny Salazar in the closer role? A: Salazar is not a closer. The Indians have been so careful with his arm this year and managed his workload that I can't see them messing with his routine. You have no idea how his arm will respond to throwing back-to-back days or the stress of pitching four to five times a week and also the different routine with getting ready. Q: Why don't the Indians move Joe Smith to the closer role? A: It is possible, but I would be against putting Joe Smith in that role. You move him there and now you have a new setup man in the eighth inning, so possibly turmoil at two backend spot. That is too many changes this late in the year. I’d keep Smith in his current role and just use one of Bryan Shaw or Cody Allen as closer, or have them share the role.