Usually Cy Young-caliber pitchers start Game 1 of a playoff series if the schedule allows it -- which the Red Sox-Indians 2016 ALDS matchup did.
But both David Price (2012) and Corey Kluber (2014) find themselves with the ball in Game 2.
Everyone in Boston knows Price’s story: he didn't exactly pitch like an ace this year and Rick Porcello could win the Cy Young.
Kluber’s a bit different though, because he’s actually in the running for this year’s award.
“I don't think there was disappointment,” Kluber said when asked if he was displeased about not get the opening start. “I think that it was -- we talked about it as a group and came to the decision that if it comes to a point where somebody has to pitch on short rest, Trevor [Bauer] is better equipped to do that. And I'm not disappointed in him pitching. We have confidence in him.”
Bauer wasn’t dazzling but he did enough to keep Cleveland in the game before Andrew Miller took over.
The major concern with Kluber entering the contest wasn’t his lack of playoff experience, but more his recent quadriceps injury. He tried putting that to rest Thursday, saying there are other reasons Bauer was the right man to start Game 1.
“I think it's a matter of the fact that I haven't pitched and I think it's ten days, by [the time Friday] comes around,” Kluber said Thursday. “So trying to bounce back on three days rest after not pitching in ten days is -- first of all, neither of us can pitch on three days rest, so we can't tell how we're going to respond to it. With all those factors in, we thought it was better for him to bounce back after short rest.”
Although Kluber thinks the extended rest would hurt his ability to bounce back on short rest, he believes it could be a big help in his Friday night outing against Boston.
“My body feels good right now,” Cleveland’s ace said. “I think the ten days did other parts of my body good, as far as not necessarily pitching in a game or skipping a start, so to speak.
“We won't know until we get out there tomorrow. But I'm not worried about it. I'm not worried about being rested. I think I've had a good couple of bullpens, so I'm not worried about the ten days rest.”
He also discussed his Game 2 opponent, stating that facing a pitcher as good as Price can make “mistakes happen more” on his end. While he’s clearly respecting a pitcher who’s been one of the game’s best for nearly a decade, Kluber’s not fooling anyone -- he’s on the same level as the lefty, if not better.
And after losing Game 1, he’s one of the last people the Red Sox would want to see 60-feet 6-inches away.