Heading into the season it was clear there was a late-game trio set to compete for the closer role.
Did this mean Francona was seeking a true closer?
Not necessarily, but it did mean one of the three could separate themselves to land such a role.
So far it appears to be a two-man race.
Emmanuel Clase Has Looked the Part
Clase regularly hitting triple-digits on the radar gun is just mind-boggling.
He is throwing pitches that truly look impossible to hit.
In fact, he has allowed one total hit in four innings of work so far this season.
How are you supposed to hit this?
Emmanuel Clase. 100mph & 101mph Cutters.
This is just stupid. ☠️💀⚰️ pic.twitter.com/SdiUqvXOno
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 10, 2021
Clase has two saves so far this season and has six strikeouts as well.
Sometimes there is a worry with such hard-throwers about a lack of control.
Clase has only allowed one walk in his four innings.
It appears the Indians truly swindled the Texas Rangers in the Corey Kluber trade after all.
James Karinchak Looking Dominant as Well
Karinchak may not routinely hit 100 on the radar gun, but he is having a great start as well.
He has yet to allow a run in his three innings of work and has also only allowed a single hit.
The right-hander has five strikeouts and proudly boasts a 0.00 ERA early in April.
Clase and Karinchak are both looking so good it is hard to say one deserves the traditional closer role over the other.
The day-to-day decision-making may come down to matchups more than anything else.
Francona could also start putting the duo on the mound earlier in games like he did with Andrew Miller in the past.
However, that is not even necessary given the surplus of talent in the bullpen.
That role could easily go to Shaw as he appears to be getting a second wind after looking like his career was over the past few seasons.
Nick Wittgren Still in the Mix
Wittgren is one of the few Indians pitchers to have a bad outing so far this season.
He was on the hook for three earned runs in an opening weekend loss to the Detroit Tigers and also allowed a home run this past weekend.
But once again, one week of action won’t remove him from the late-game conversation.
It is just hard to keep up with Clase and Karinchak.
Wittgren is also the veteran of the bunch and does have a save on the year.
Emmanuel Clase threw 12 cutters tonight. The "slowest" one clocked in at 99.9 mph. Every one has a bunch of movement, too. The guy is from a different solar system.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) April 10, 2021
Watching Clase throw absolute smoke has been a treat and Karinchak is right there behind him in terms of power on the mound.
This surplus of power arms is yet another reason why the Indians remain actual contenders in 2021.