Volquez gets chance to end season on high note
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona is more concerned about how his rotation will line up for the American League Division Series than the Saturday matchup with the Kansas City Royals.
Right-hander Trevor Bauer, who starts Saturday, will in all likelihood by the Indians starter for the first postseason game Thursday.
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco was placed on the 60-day disabled list Friday, removing him from any postseason appearances.
Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber is nursing a quadriceps strain, while All-Star right-hander Danny Salazar has a forearm strain.
While Kluber, who is 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA, threw long toss Friday before the game at Kauffman Stadium, he has yet to test his sore leg with a mound session. Salazar could have a simulated game Monday if he feels good the next couple of days.
"We need to talk through with the staff, and we need to talk to Kluber more, too, 'cause we want to get a better feel for where he is, too," Francona said. "We're not going to know that for a little bit, so that's kind of why we're waiting to see what's going on here."
Does that mean who would start Game 1 of the ALDS?
"If and when and why, yeah," Francona said.
Bauer has indicated he would be willing to pitch on short rest or be available every day out of the bullpen.
"I don't doubt that," Francona said. "That's something that, we need to talk through. We've already talked with him."
Bauer is 12-8 with a 4.26 ERA in 34 games (27 starts) this season. He struck out 159, walked 68 and allowed 173 hits in 184 innings.
The Indians are one-half game behind Boston for home-field advantage in their upcoming ALDS.
The Royals, who won't be in the postseason after playing in the past two World Series, will start Edinson Volquez on Saturday. He is 0-1 with a 7.77 ERA and opponents are hitting .324 off him in five September starts. He gave up 12 doubles and four home runs among 33 hits in 24 1/3 innings.
This will be his sixth start against the Indians this year (1-2, 3.73), becoming only the second Kansas City pitcher to make six starts against the same team in a season.
Meanwhile, the Royals try to figure out how Yordano "Ace" Ventura might improve during the offseason. His loss Friday to the Indians left him with a 4.45 ERA, the highest of his career.
"I just think that he's starting to understand," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Again, obviously, tonight, it's still not quite there to be able to take it through six or seven innings, but you see the difference in five innings when he's staying within himself and just dotting that fastball, good curveball, nice changeup and then he starts to fly open a little bit, getting a little bit strong and then leaves pitches up in the zone and they do damage on it."
Ventura gave up four runs, all in the third inning, while striking out eight, walking three and hitting a batter.
"Thank goodness I was able to finish the season healthy and I'm going to go back home and start working to prepare myself for spring training next year," Ventura said with catching coach Pedro Grifol acting as his interpreter.