Oct. 6: There are “strong indications” that Clevinger will get the Game 1 nod, Robert Murray reports. H’s thrown a pair of flat-ground sessions and a bullpen session recently.
Oct. 5, 8:54 pm: The Padres are deciding between Clevinger and Chris Paddack to start tomorrow’s game one against the Dodgers, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Tribune. Both threw bullpen sessions on Sunday, and if they deem Clevinger healthy enough, he’ll get the ball.
Starting Clevinger in game one would be an interesting call, because it could also set him up to start a potential game five on short rest. The Padres might be hesitant to do so given the injury concern. Perhaps more to the point, starting Clevinger tomorrow would mean Paddack would not be able to go in a potential series-deciding game five.
9:33 am: The Padres are “optimistic” right-hander Mike Clevinger will be able to return for their National League Division Series against the Dodgers, hears Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). However, fellow starter Dinelson Lamet “likely won’t be ready for this round,” Nightengale adds. Both pitchers missed the playoffs’ opening set, but San Diego leaned heavily on their bullpen to advance past the Cardinals in three games.
Clevinger has generally seemed the more likely of the duo to work his way back to the mound this week. Sidelined since September 23 due to an elbow strain, the 29-year-old threw a “high-intensity” bullpen session yesterday, reports Jon Morosi of MLB Network (via Twitter). The highest-profile of San Diego’s myriad deadline season acquisitions, Clevinger has a 3.02 ERA/4.15 FIP in 41.2 innings between the Indians and Padres this season.
Lamet emerged as an NL Cy Young contender this year, pitching to a 2.09 ERA/2.48 FIP across 69 innings. Unfortunately, he exited his final start of the regular season with biceps tightness. The Padres have until tomorrow to formally set their NLDS roster.