With every injury the Indians sustained to their starting rotation over the past few weeks, the ability for Cleveland to open a best-of-seven American League Division Series with Corey Kluber on the hill felt like their saving grace.
And despite the injury the right-hander suffered on Monday night, that scenario is still potentially on the table for the Tribe.
Kluber was officially diagnosed with a mild strain of the quadriceps muscles after undergoing an MRI on Tuesday back in Cleveland. The Indians’ ace was originally lifted after just four innings in Monday’s division-clinching game after feeling some tightness in his right groin.
Further tests revealed the quad strain but no injury to the groin.
The talented hurler could miss 7-10 days before returning to the mound for Cleveland. That timetable coincides with Game 1 (Oct. 6) and Game 2 (Oct. 7) of the ALDS, which potentially — and maybe even likely — leaves the door open for Kluber to start either game for the Indians.
How Kluber responds over the next few days will help determine his return to the mound.
The Tribe has already been bitten hard by the injury bug this month, losing Danny Salazar (forearm strain) and Carlos Carrasco (right hand fracture) to injuries in early September. The club is still hopeful Salazar will be able pitch out of the bullpen in the postseason, but Carrasco is likely lost for the remainder of the season and playoffs.
If healthy, Kluber will join Trevor Bauer in the Indians’ playoff rotation. Josh Tomlin, who has pitched much better over his past three outings, also likely figures to take the mound for Cleveland in the postseason.
Anything beyond that is still a mystery.