Cleveland has lost yet another important starting pitcher to injury. Wednesday afternoon the club announced righty Aaron Civale has a middle finger sprain on his pitching hand and will be shut down 1-2 weeks. He is expected to miss 4-5 weeks total.
With Civale landing on the injured list, Cleveland does not have a single member of their Opening Day rotation on their active roster. Here is their current rotation depth chart:RHP Shane Bieber (on injured list with shoulder strain)RHP Zach Plesac (on injured list with broken finger)RHP Aaron Civale (on injured list with finger sprain)LHP Logan Allen (demoted to Triple-A after 9.19 ERA)RHP Triston McKenzie (demoted to Triple-A after 6.38 ERA)
The current rotation includes lefty Sam Hentges and righties JC Mejia, Eli Morgan, and Cal Quantrill. Quantrill is the elder statesman of the foursome with 25 career big league starts. Cleveland has not yet announced who will replace Civale in the rotation, though recalling Allen or McKenzie would seem likely.
Civale, 26, currently leads MLB with 10 wins. He has a 3.32 ERA in 15 starts and 97 2/3 innings, and in parts of three big league seasons, he's pitched to a 3.53 ERA in 229 1/3 innings. Civale exited Tuesday's start with soreness in the finger.
Pitching has been Cleveland's hallmark the last few years, though they currently rank 15th in baseball with a 4.15 ERA and 13th with a 108 ERA+. Much of that was built on healthy Bieber, Civale, and Plesac. All three will miss several weeks though, putting Cleveland in a real bind on the mound.
Despite the pitching injuries, Cleveland is two and a half games behind the White Sox in the AL Central at 40-31 with a plus-1 run differential. They're tied with the Rays in the loss column for the second wild-card spot.
Cleveland has a rare Wednesday off-day before beginning an 18 games in 18 days stretch that will take them to the All-Star break. They won't be able to use scheduled off-days to skip their fifth starter.