Six days ago, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was credited with brilliant managing for knowing when to get Luis Severino out of the AL wild-card game and using his bullpen for 26 outs.
Bauer will return on short rest to oppose Severino on Monday night when the Indians try to eliminate the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium.
Bauer (17-9, 4.19 ERA in the regular season) allowed two hits in 6 2/3 innings as Cleveland opened the series with a 4-0 victory Thursday. He took a no-hitter into the sixth and struck out eight, justifying Francona's decision to start him over ace Corey Kluber.
"We just wanted to check with Trev, make sure he was OK," Francona said. "Once he was good to go, I think he'll be just fine."
Bauer has been more than fine during the past two-plus months. He finished the regular season with 10 wins in his final 11 decision, including a 2-1 victory in the Bronx on Aug. 30 and a 7-2 win over the Yankees at Cleveland on Aug. 4. He allowed one run in seven innings in Cleveland and then gave up a run in six innings in New York.
Bauer will make a postseason start on three days' rest for the second time. In Game 5 of the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field, he allowed three runs on six hits in four innings of a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
"I consider this normal rest for me," Bauer said. "I enjoy pitching on short, I guess, (the) technical definition of short. But if I could draw it out personally, this is how I'd pitch every time."
Meanwhile, the Yankees are hoping for a significantly better showing from Severino, who was pulled after allowing three runs and throwing 29 pitches while getting one out on Tuesday in the Yankees' 8-4 win over the Minnesota Twins.
"It was difficult," Severino said. "I didn't do my job. I couldn't command my pitches. ... (Warming up) in the bullpen, I was awesome. My changeup and slider were working, but when I took the mound, I lost the feeling for them, and I paid for it."
It was an departure from his regular season, especially the second half, when he was 9-2 with a 2.28 ERA in 14 starts. Overall, he went 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA in 31 starts.
In four career appearances against the Indians, the right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA. He also faced the Indians on Aug. 6 in Cleveland, when he allowed a run and struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings of an 8-1 win.
"It means a lot," Severino said of getting the chance to rebound from his ugly outing. "I think the last start I had wasn't my best one, so I'll have a chance to go over there and try to do my job and give the team a chance to win."
The Yankees are hoping for a similar showing to force a fifth game on Wednesday after Masahiro Tanaka allowed three hits in seven shutout innings during Game 3.
"We trust in Severino; he had a really good regular season," Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez said through an interpreter. "Anybody can have a bad outing, and tomorrow we expect him to go out there and do his job."
If the Yankees can reach Game 5, they would face Kluber, whom they battered for six runs on Friday before the Indians erased a five-run deficit and won.
"I'm not ready to be done playing, and I don't think the rest of the team is," said Bird, who is the first Yankee to homer in consecutive postseason games since Robinson Cano in Games 4 and 5 of the 2010 AL Championship Series against the Texas Rangers.