Tribe’s pitcher Brad Hand has not pitched in a game since September 8 as he was dealing with a tired left arm.
Fortunately, the Indians have incredible depth in their pitching roster. The question is will the Tribe’s skipper be bold enough to entrust someone other than Hand for the remaining games? The immediate answer would be “yes” as Francona is a mastermind at manipulating the roster to fill in for injuries that have plagued the team all season.
In the opening game of the series against Philadelphia, Carlos Carrasco recorded his first save in five years. Since Carrasco has returned to the team, while battling leukemia, he has repeatedly stated he will play any role necessary. Carrasco could continue to be used in save situations down the stretch.
Another weapon that Tito has at this disposable is rookie right-hand reliever James Karinchak. He was recently called up by the Indians in response to Hand’s absence. The kid had an impressive stint in the Minors so far this season. In just over 30 innings, Karinchak struck out 74 batters. He then started his MLB career with five of his first seven outs being strikeouts. Can he live up to the hype surrounding the media has placed on him? The gamble to use him in high-pressure situations could pay off big for the Indians.
Regardless if Hand can maintain his closer role, relievers Adam Cimber and Nick Wittgren have each recorded saves recently. Tito can go the conservative route to finish the season. However, Karinchak fanning batters to lead Cleveland to the postseason would be an extraordinary story. It seems only fitting that a team which continues to beat all of the odds should take a chance with Karinchak.