Even though he didn’t really excel in his first half-season back from Tommy John surgery, going 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA in 12 starts, Edinson Volquez was Reds manager Dusty Baker’s choice to start on Opening Day this year.
And as it turned out, it worked just fine. Volquez gave up five runs in six innings, but the Reds won 7-6 anyway. It’s turned into something of a trend: Volquez gets off to a horrible start, puts it together enough in order to keep Cincinnati in the game and the Reds end up with a narrow victory. They’re 5-3 in his eight starts this year, with four of those wins coming by one run.
Volquez, though, has a 5.74 ERA after allowing three runs in four innings Wednesday against the Astros. He’s yet to pitch more than six innings in a start. He issued five walks today, bringing his season total to 33 in 43 1/3 innings.
And it’s not like the Reds don’t have alternatives. Both Mike Leake and Sam LeCure did solid work while filling in for Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey over the first five weeks. Leake had a 5.77 ERA in six starts, but he was legitimately good in four of them (and bombed in the other two). LeCure had a 4.79 ERA in four starts.
So if the Reds don’t want to send down Aroldis Chapman to make room for Jose Arredondo this weekend, they could choose to demote Volquez and restore either Leake or LeCure to the rotation (probably Leake). Volquez has options remaining, so there’s no concern there. A few weeks in the minors to work on his control issues in a low-pressure situation might be just the thing for him.
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.