Dodgers starters had a 5.30 ERA over
eight starts during the playoffs, and were ousted from the NLCS after a
miserable performance by late-season acquisition Vicente Padilla in
Game 5. Relying on pitchers like Padilla and a rusty Hiroki Kuroda only
underscored their need for a legitimate ace pitcher this winter. But
just because general manager Ned Colletti is aware of it, don’t expect it to happen.
“There’s not a long list of guys where you would say, this guy would
make a dramatic difference,” Colletti said of the upcoming crop of
free-agent starters. “It’s a thin market. There are pitchers who would
make us better. But tremendously better?
“Every club needs an ace and we’re not unlike any club. We
might have one or two in the making [referring to Clayton Kershaw and
Chad Billingsley]. But the likelihood of an ace becoming available by
trade is very slim. And this [free-agent] class doesn’t have that type
of allure to it.”
Pssst, Ned, let me introduce you to
this guy named Roy Halladay. I know he’s from Canada and all, but he
did start the All-Star game for the American League this year. Rest
assured, Colletti is using his best poker face here, as he should at
this juncture, but he has all the necessary pieces to get a deal done
tomorrow. Whether he has the sense of urgency remains to be seen.
Consecutive losses in the NLCS should be enough.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday, “Got a little too close to [Francisco Lindor] during the celebration!! Freak accident but should be good to go by Tuesday! #cantkeepmeoutofthisgame!”
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Terry Francona said Kipnis is dealing with a low ankle sprain, but he’s expected to be ready to go when the World Series begins on Tuesday. Kipnis went through fielding drills on Sunday.
Kipnis is hitting .167/.219/.367 with a pair of homers and four RBI in eight games this postseason.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that Indians manager Terry Francona has set his starting rotation for the first three games of the World Series against the Cubs. Corey Kluber will start Game One, followed by Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin for Games Two and Three, respectively.
Kluber, the ace of the staff, has had a terrific postseason. He’s made three starts with a 0.98 ERA and a 20/7 K/BB ratio in 18 1/3 innings. The Indians won two of his starts — Game Two of the ALDS and Game 1 of the ALCS.
Bauer was unable to make it out of the first inning of his ALCS Game 3 start against the Blue Jays after the stitches on his pinky opened up and caused blood to pour out. He suffered the injury repairing one of his drones, which he builds as a hobby. Bauer insists he’ll be good to go in Game Two, though he also insisted that the injury wouldn’t be an impediment against the Jays.
Tomlin has made two solid starts for the Indians, allowing a total of three runs over 10 2/3 innings. The Indians won both games he started, Game 3 of the ALDS and Game 2 of the ALCS. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes that if Bauer can’t go in Game Two, Tomlin will be moved up to start in his place.