The Guardians defeated the Rays in the Wild Card round and will now face the Yankees in the ALDS. They have announced their roster for the second round, with a few changes from last time. Right-hander Nick Sandlin and left-hander Kirk McCarty have been replaced by righties Aaron Civale and Cody Morris. The full roster breaks down like this…
- Shane Bieber (Game 2 starter)
- Aaron Civale
- Emmanuel Clase
- Enyel De Los Santos
- James Karinchak
- Triston McKenzie (Game 3 starter)
- Eli Morgan
- Cody Morris
- Zach Plesac
- Cal Quantrill (Game 1 starter)
- Trevor Stephan
The removal of Sandlin is not surprising, as it was reported yesterday that he has a strain in his upper back/shoulder that will keep him out of action for the remainder of the postseason. That will deprive the Guardians of a reliever who tossed 44 innings in the regular season this year, posting an ERA of 2.25 while getting grounders on 55.9% of balls in play.
McCarty was one of two lefties on the club’s Wild Card roster and his removal for the ALDS leaves Hentges as the only southpaw for the Guards to deploy against the Yankees. The Yankees have a lineup that leans right-handed, with Anthony Rizzo and Matt Carpenter the only two who hit exclusively from the left side. They also have a handful of switch-hitters in Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Cabrera and Marwin Gonzalez. McCarty registered a 4.54 ERA in 37 2/3 frames at the big league level this year, though a much better 3.58 ERA over 65 1/3 innings in Triple-A. Hentges, on the other hand, had an outstanding campaign, throwing 62 innings with a 2.32 ERA, 29.4% strikeout rate, 7.8% walk rate and 61.5% ground ball rate. He also tossed the last three scoreless innings in the club’s 15-inning 1-0 victory over the Rays on Saturday.
Both Civale and Morris have the potential to give Cleveland some length, whenever they are needed. Civale made 20 starts this year and threw 97 innings. His 4.92 ERA isn’t especially impressive, though a lot of that damage was done over his first six starts. Since mid-May, he’s had a much more respectable 3.24 ERA. Morris missed the first few months of the season with a shoulder strain but eventually made 16 appearances between the majors and minors, which included five starts in the big leagues. This year’s ALDS features a unique schedule where there are off-days after the first and second games, with the final three being played on consecutive days, if necessary. After going with Quantrill, Bieber and McKenzie in the first three games, the Guardians could potentially turn to Quantrill on regular rest in game four and then Bieber on short rest in game five. Civale and Morris could contribute multiple innings at some point over the series, depending on how it progresses.
Pitching was the big storyline in the series against Tampa, as Cleveland held onto narrow victories of 2-1 and 1-0 in the Wild Card round. They will be facing a more potent offense this time around though, as Tampa’s .239/.309/.377 batting line for the year was just a hair above average, as evidenced by their collective 101 wRC+. The Yankees slashed .241/.325/.426 for a wRC+ of 115, the fourth-best mark in the majors.
Zack Meisel of The Athletic was among those to relay the roster changes prior to the official announcement.