Chris Sale going to the Red Sox seemed to give Boston the best rotation in the American League, yet they were not able to record a win in the 2016 playoffs and Sale has never even been in the postseason. With the expected rotation of Kluber, Carrasco, Salazar, Tomlin, and Bauer for the Indians, it is hard to argue the Red Sox are better.
Kluber posted a 1.83 ERA in the postseason to go along with a 1.049 WHIP. He is an elite pitcher who had another Cy Young Award-worthy season.
Salazar’s first half last season was magnificent. In 17 starts, opposing hitters batted .204 against him. He also dominated one of the teams trying to dethrone the AL Central Champs. The Kansas City Royals, in three games against Salazar, batted .192 and scored a total of three earned runs.
Tomlin carried the Indians to the World Series. After some struggles that saw him lose his rotation spot, he came back and pitched magnificently in all three rounds of the playoffs. Game 6 of the World Series did not go well, but only so much can be asked from a three-man rotation. Tomlin proved he can use the movement on his pitches to confound batters.
(Fan tip: when Tomlin is starting, get a seat in Section 185 as low down and close to the video cameras as possible. It is a great place to really watch his pitches move)
Carrasco had a very good season, but freak injuries limited his playing time. He did compile 11 wins and is an important piece to winning again.
This team has plenty of starting pitching, but the bullpen may be even better. Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, and Andrew Miller are the backend of the bullpen or as some may call them: Nirvana (both the “state of salvation” and 1980/90’s grunge band consisting of Kurt Cody-bain, Bry-ave Grohl, and Mille-rist Novoselic).
Nothing can stop this bullpen. Enough has been written about their dominance, but with Dan Otero coming off a fantastic year and an assembly of numerous other relievers, as long as the starters can get to the fifth inning, the game will go the Indians’ way.