King Felix may be shut down early

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Felix Hernandez would have three starts left if he stays on regular rest. Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald reports, however, that he may start only two more games because the team is concerned about his workload. Hernandez’s workload, that is. Not Arnold’s. I’m sure he’ll be able to report for the rest of the season without risking injury or fatigue.

On the one hand I’m a big fan of not pushing your valuable franchise pitchers unnecessarily, and there’s absolutely nothing necessary about the rest of the Mariners season. On the other hand, even if he were to throw three more complete games, he’d still only have 22 more innings this year than last year. And he’s currently 109 pitches behind the number he threw last year. So yes, going all three starts will take him into unprecedented territory, but it won’t take him into crazy land. If they want to truly preserve him, why not just shut him down now?

But hey, if Hernandez is shut down, the writers who support CC Sabathia and David Price for the Cy Young Award* will have another fact they will believe to be in their favor. No, not durability or anything. Probably something about guts and bravery or something equally as compelling as the wins argument tends to be.

*I recently spoke with a couple of writers who had a reasonable request of me: stop referring to “the writers” as if they were some giant groupthinking blob. I try not to do that, but I’ll admit that I’ve done it a bit recently, most notably in connection with the AL Cy Young award and the Jeter phantom HBP thing. And that’s not fair, as there are a lot of them who think sharply about issues, and that’s the case even if they ultimately come out differently than I do. A lot of writers do support Hernandez. A lot of the ones who don’t, don’t do so simply on the “wins = everything” basis I’ve been criticizing. There are a lot of writers who, like me, thought the Jeter thing was much ado about nothing.

Anyway, as a guy who bristles whenever he hears the term “the bloggers” thrown around to describe everything from some mental defect with a LiveJournal account to yours truly, I think it’s more than fair that I avoid similar imprecision when referring to newspaper guys. Going forward, I’ll be careful to make it clear that when I’m talking about a dumb opinion, I’m limiting it to those who actually subscribe to the dumb opinion as opposed to everyone in that guy’s field.

Indians’ postseason rotation is still up in the air

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Starting pitcher Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.

Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.

Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.

With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:

If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.

Matt Holliday wants to return in 2017

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Manager Mike Matheny #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals congratulates Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals after he hit a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 30, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.

It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.