TORONTO — Jays manager John Gibbons says he mulled over what to do when he saw blood dripping from Indians starter Trevor Bauer's injured finger in the first inning Monday night.
Bauer, who was pitching with 10 stitches in the pinky finger of his pitching hand after cutting himself while working on a drone, had two walks, a strikeout and a flyout in 21 pitches. Toronto, down 2-0 in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, needed a win.
Gibbons wondered whether he should try to trigger a pitching change.
"I debated," Gibbons said prior to Toronto's do-or-die Game 4 Tuesday against Cleveland. "My thinking was if we can get to their bullpen that early — just like during the season, you want to get to teams' bullpen.
"I know they've got a very good bullpen but you figure there's somebody down there we can get to before they get to those other (elite) guys. And then if you do win that game, maybe it affects their 'pen since you've got three games in a row. But that didn't work. They stepped up pretty good."
His decision made, Gibbons left the dugout and spoke to umpire Brian Gorman. That led to a major Indians confab on the mound and Bauer's exit.
Indians manager Terry Francona said after the game that Gibbons had called him to explain the move.
"He said that's not really what we wanted to do, but it was pretty (ugly) — I get it," Francona said. "I mean, shoot, it was only a matter of time until everybody saw it. It was bleeding pretty bad."
Gibbons said of Francona: "He's a buddy of mine."
Asked how long his inner debate was, Gibbons said. "Not a lot. Like I said, you always try to get to teams' bullpens ... If it was a little later in the game, I might have hesitated a little more knowing he could go to those other (top) guys real quick."
The Indians used six different relievers, with Francona pulling the bullpen strings masterfully.
Gibbons said he had seen Bauer rubbing his shirt with his injured hand. "You could tell something wasn't right."
The people responsible for watching video and others then started telling him in the dugout that Bauer was bleeding. Gibbons wasn't that surprised having seen a photo of the stitches before the game.
"It was a serious injury," he said.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press