MLB roundup: Kluber's workload a key variable in Series; Kipnis OK to start Game 1

If he's not overused in Game 1, Corey Kluber, who has a 0.98 ERA for the Indians this postseason, could start Game 4 on short rest. Jason Miller/Getty Images

CLEVELAND -- Ryan Merritt will forever be a folk hero here, a memory brought up every October when Indians fans reach for the name of the rookie who beat Toronto to clinch the American League pennant in 2016. But Merritt probably isn't an option to start Game 4 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs, who bear a lineup much deeper and more diverse than that of the Blue Jays.

Danny Salazar was a Cy Young Award candidate at midseason before going down with arm trouble, and because he has worked his way back to the point of being added to the World Series roster, he could start Game 4, in theory. But Salazar hasn't started a game in 46 days and hasn't had a full-blown dress rehearsal, throwing all his pitches with a complete dose of game-time adrenaline.

It's far more likely that the Indians will go old-school and start ace Corey Kluber on three days' rest in Game 4 and, if necessary, Game 7. Kluber is the Indians' horse, the ace, and he has assured the team's staff that he feels well and is prepared to take on the kind of workload that pitchers like Bob Gibson, Mickey Lolich and others used to assume in the postseason.

But there are some mitigating factors in his workload: