He left the mound Monday night, and no one knew what was going on.
Well, the bad news finally came Wednesday evening.
Aaron Civale was diagnosed with a sprain in his middle finger on his right hand. middle). He will be shut down from throwing for 1-2 weeks and is expected to miss between 4-5 weeks of game activity.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) June 23, 2021
Civale, the last man standing in the starting rotation, is now down for at least a month.
That has him on schedule to return in July, but this is still obviously awful news.
So what are they going to do?
A Wild Plan In Place
The Indians were already dipping into the contingency plans even with all three regular starters healthy.
Now, it will be a slew of rookies for the foreseeable future.
Tentative Cleveland pitching plan, following Eli Morgan starting tonight and an off day tomorrow:
Thursday: J.C. Mejía
Friday: Cal Quantrill
Saturday: Sam Hentges
Sunday: Eli Morgan
Monday: Mystery person
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) June 22, 2021
Oh good, the reliable “mystery person” is set to pitch Monday.
That either means the Indians will go with a bullpen game, sign someone, or finally swing a deal for a starting pitcher.
Really at this point all the team needs is someone with proper MLB experience.
Even if Triston McKenzie gets back in the mix, he may not be able to go deep into games with his lack of proper control and command.
Eli Morgan got the start Tuesday and actually managed to go five innings.
He only allowed four earned runs and the best thing of all was him throwing 71 pitches and making it so deep into the game.
That is what Terry Francona is going to have to do now.
If one of the young guys is struggling, he just can’t burn through the bullpen with a lack of off-days before the All-Star break.
Fans may just see several days and nights where games are lost early and development will be the focus.
Shutting Down A Great Year
This injury is frustrating for more than the fact the Indians now have zero healthy starters from their core trio.
Civale seemed primed for All-Star consideration.
He has a league-leading 10 wins so far this year and was sporting a 3.32 ERA.
We often wrote how he was finally set to get a full season of work after entering the year with only 22 career MLB starts.
He already has a new career-high with 15, but a full season will once again elude him because of this injury.
That also means a likely All-Star berth is out the window as well.
The Indians may also be losing the possibility of a special year in general.
The team is currently 40-31 and 2.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox.
Going with the most pessimistic view, the goal now is just to develop young talent and accept the fact the season is lost.
However, there is no guarantee that the young talent will fold.
And if they can at least play .500 baseball for a month, the team will be in a great spot getting elite pitching talent back on the mound.