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Indians manager announces pitching lineup options for ALCS against Toronto

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28) pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of game one of the American League Championship Series in Cleveland on Friday October 14, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
October 17, 2016 - 2:49 PM

TORONTO - The Cleveland Indians will go with either rookie Ryan Merritt or ace Corey Kluber on Tuesday for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against Toronto.

Manager Terry Francona said Merritt will start Tuesday if Game 3 starter Trevor Bauer does well Monday night. If Bauer does not pitch deep into the game, Kluber will start Tuesday on short rest.

Bauer was slated to start Game 2 but was pushed back to Game 3, with Josh Tomlin starting in his place, after cutting his finger while working on a drone.

"If something happens with Bauer and we have a little bit of a malfunction in his finger ... then we would bring Kluber back (Tuesday), and then Merritt would pitch the next day," Francona explained. "And then that would allow Kluber to pitch a Game 7 if need be. If Trevor is OK, then we slot Corey in two days — everybody stays on normal rest."

Mike Clevinger was originally considered as a possible starter for Game 4.

Cleveland won the first two games of the best-of-seven series, with Kluber and two relievers combining on a shutout in Game 1 Friday.

Merritt made just four appearances with one start for the Indians this season, going 1-0 with a 1.64 earned run average.

"My first time in the playoffs," he said. "But it's awesome that they trust me to be in the situation, and I'm just going to go out there and have fun, enjoy it, and try to give my team the best chance to win."

The 24-year-old left-hander was 11-8 with a 3.70 ERA with triple-A Columbus this season.

The Cleveland starting rotation has had to be revamped due to late-season injuries to Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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