Guardians stick with Aaron Civale for ALDS Game 5 start vs. Yankees

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The Cleveland Guardians will not change their starting pitcher plans ahead of Tuesday afternoon’s Game 5 of their American League Division Series against the New York Yankees. Whereas the Yankees took advantage of a rain postponement by switching from Jameson Taillon to Nestor Cortes, the Guardians will stick with Aaron Civale rather than reverting to Shane Bieber, according to Zack Meisel of The Athletic.

Civale will be making his first appearance since the end of the regular season. He had a tough year, posting a 4.92 ERA (78 ERA+) in 20 starts. It’s worth noting that he tallied just 97 innings, suggesting that the Guardians are unlikely to allow him to pitch more than four to five innings, especially with the stakes attached to Game 5.

Bieber most recently pitched in Game 2, when he opposed Cortes in what was ultimately a Guardians extra-innings victory. Manager Terry Francona appears unwilling to ask Bieber to start on three days’ rest, however, and has reportedly told him that he will instead start Game 1 of the AL Championship Series, should the Guardians advance.

Bieber started 31 times during the regular season, amassing a 2.88 ERA (132 ERA+) and a 5.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 200 innings. He’s pitched twice already this postseason, tallying a 2.03 ERA and a .533 OPS against in 13 ⅓ innings. 

As mentioned above, the Guardians are expected to learn heavily on their bullpen in the middle to late stages of Game 5. Emmanuel Clase, James Karinchak, and Trevor Stephan have not pitched since last Friday. The rest should come in handy: if the Guardians were to advance, they’d begin the ALCS against the Houston Astros on Wednesday. They’d then have to play up to seven games in eight days.

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