In a somewhat surprising decision, Indians manager Terry Francona announced Tuesday that Trevor Bauer will start for the Indians in Thursday's Game 1 of the American League Division Series against either the New York Yankees or Minnesota Twins.
Kluber will pitch Game 2.
"I think on a number of reasons it makes good sense," Francona said. "Not that you go into a game thinking you're going to lose, but if you do, you have your ace coming back. The biggest thing was keeping him on his five-day (schedule). That was really important to Kluber. That was really the only way we could do it.
"Again, you don't want to put the cart ahead of the horse, but if you're fortunate enough to win in four, you have your ace ready for the next series."
Bauer is generally considered the third best starter in the Indians' rotation, even though he is 17-9 with a 4.19 ERA for the season, and is 10-1 with 2.60 ERA in his last 14 starts.
"He's been one of the better pitchers in the league," Francona said. "He's durable. He bounces back really well. That's another thing. We can use him, whether it's a second start, or in the bullpen, probably easier than anybody on our roster."
Kluber is 18-4 with a 2.25 ERA for the season, and he was 5-0 with an 0.84 ERA in six September starts.
Carlos Carassco, who is scheduled to start Game 3 for Cleveland, is 18-6 with a 3.29 ERA, and he is 6-0 in his last seven starts, giving up more than one run just once in that span.