CHICAGO — Carlos Carrasco says he has no problem pitching out of the bullpen so Trevor Bauer can get the innings he needs to get ready for October.
“It’s nothing new to me,” said Carrasco. “I pitched out of the bullpen four years ago. And I did it this year on the last game before the All-Star break. So it’s nothing new.”
Bauer was scheduled to start Tuesday night’s game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. After 60 to 65 pitches, he was scheduled to make way for Carrasco.
Bauer is trying to come back from a stress fracture in his right leg and in the final days of the regular season Carrasco was willing to share one of his starts. Carrasco, like Bauer, has to get ready for the ALDS, so it may be a bit unusual for a veteran starter to offer to share a start with a teammate.
But Carrasco has fond memories of the bullpen. In 2014, he resurrected his career when he went to the bullpen and found himself after several lukewarm seasons as a starter. He returned to the rotation in August of that year and has been a fixture there ever since.
Manager Terry Francona admitted that a veteran starter such as Carrasco could balk at the idea of splitting a start with the postseason so close at hand. He complimented Carrasco and added, “You know what I think helps? When he went to the bullpen back in 2014, it made him who he is. He learned to be the guy that came in and would be aggressive and he pitched out of the stretch. … I think he has some pretty good feelings about that.”
Francona said Carrasco will start the regular season finale against Kansas City on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. It would put him in line with Corey Kluber to start Game 1 or Game 2 of the ALDS on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6.
But that would not restrict Francona from using Carrasco later in the best-of-five series out of the bullpen.
“Of all our starters, he’s probably the one that we feel like in a five-game series can go to the bullpen at some point and be kind of a difference-maker,” said Francona.