Cleveland Indians five-point checklist for the month of June

Starting pitcher Cal Quantrill #47 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Starting pitcher Cal Quantrill #47 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians, Triston McKenzie
Starting pitcher Triston McKenzie #24 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Figure out the starting rotation

It wasn’t all that long ago that the Cleveland Indians had arguably the best starting rotation in baseball. Even entering the season there was optimism about the group thanks to reigning Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber and his 2016 MLB Draft classmates Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac. Now, injuries and disappointing starts has turned the unit into possibly the biggest question mark on the roster.

With Plesac’s injury, the weak unit was just further dinged. Luckily, in his absence there’s been flashes of potential that could emerge throughout the month. Given the unknown of Plesac’s timetable, that could be the only route the team has at the moment. Riding the hot hand.

Since being sent down to Columbus, Triston McKenzie has made two starts for the Tribe. One came last week during a single day call-up while the other was during the double-header as he served as the 27th man for the day. The first was by far the better of the two, tossing five scoreless innings. However, the second start saw him surrender five runs to the White Sox over 5.1 innings. Now, he did record 10 strikeouts, including eight straight to tie the MLB record, but the overall body wasn’t great and he still leads the majors in walks with 35.

Another spot start was pitched by reliever Cal Quantrill. Going 3.2 innings, Quantrill gave up just one run and struck out five of the 11 outs recorded while he was on the mound. Having transitioned to a reliever role, it’s uncertain if Quantrill will get another shot to start. If Eli Morgan struggles again, the odds will increase. However, if the Tribe want to continue to contend, they’ll need to solidify the third through fifth spots of the rotation, and soon.