It’s easy to forget now, but the Indians made their magical run to Game 7 of the World Series last season while woefully short-handed. Starting pitchers Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco both missed significant chunks of the regular season due to injury, then were unable to take the ball as starters in the postseason. Leftfielder Michael Brantley and starting catcher Yan Gomes also missed huge stretches.
All four are now back, and Cleveland figures to be better for it. Or at least it will be with its pitching. We wouldn’t make a big deal about Brantley’s slow start this season, but the All-Star still has to show he’s completely over the shoulder injury that blew up his 2016 campaign—he’s hitting .235 with no extra-base hits and one walk through the first week. Meanwhile, Gomes went from bad in 2015 to impossibly atrocious at the plate in '16, and he’s batting just .071 with no extra-base hits to start this year. The good news? Fortified by Salazar and Carrasco, Indians starters lead all AL rotations in strikeout-to-walk rate . . . by a lot.