CLEVELAND: Hope you have your Excedrin or Tylenol ready.

The Indians have had the division wrapped up for two weeks and now know they have home-field advantage in the American League playoffs. But several major decisions remain to sort out the construction of the 25-man roster heading into the AL Division Series.

The final few spots to fill out both the pitching staff and the bench have several candidates. It’s also unclear if the Indians will carry 11 or 12 pitchers. They enter October in a much better position health-wise than a year ago, possibly affording them an easier decision on adding an extra spot on the bench.

Starting with the pitchers, this much is clear: Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer will start games 1, 2 and 3. Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith will form the back end of the bullpen. And it has already been announced Mike Clevinger will appear out of the bullpen.

That’s eight pitchers, leaving either three or four available spots on the ALDS staff. One major decision remaining is to figure out who starts Game 4. That spot will go to either Josh Tomlin, Danny Salazar or — potentially as a long shot — Ryan Merritt.

Salazar, at the moment, is one of the major keys to the puzzle. He was terrific in his final start of the season, striking out nine and allowing just one hit in 4⅔ innings. He threw 64 pitchers and will have another chance to throw a side session before Game 4 of the ALDS. And, with Clevinger available to pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen, it mean Salazar is lengthened out enough to start a game.

Additionally, with how Salazar looked in his last start, it’d be very difficult to leave him off the roster completely, as he flashed the stuff that has allowed him in stretches to hold his own even in a rotation with Kluber and Carrasco. And because of the construction of the outfield, Salazar’s inclusion on the roster might be as a starter or not at all, even though Salazar has repeatedly said he just wants to be on the roster in some way and that role doesn’t matter.

Tomlin has been mostly consistent for two months, and he was one of the pitchers who kept the Indians afloat after their string of injuries last October. Merritt could be a surprise option depending on opponent — the Twins could be susceptible to Merritt’s softer-throwing, command-based style. Manager Terry Francona admitted that opponent could play into the construction of the roster, so the Game 4 starter could in part come down to who wins the wildcard game.

The first domino is deciding who starts Game 4. The second is deciding what happens to who doesn’t start — namely, Tomlin or Salazar — and whether they end up in the bullpen or off the roster entirely.

Moving on from that triangle of questions for a moment, it would make sense to carry Tyler Olson, who would give the Indians a second left-hander in the bullpen. Entering the weekend, Olson hadn’t allowed a run in 19 innings this season.

That would be 10 pitchers, and the nonstarter between Tomlin and Salazar — it doesn’t seem likely Merritt would be in the bullpen if he’s not starting — and relievers Dan Otero, Nick Goody and Zach McAllister still remain with one or two spots remaining. McAllister appears to be a serious long shot. It’s hard to picture leaving Tomlin or Salazar off the roster in some fashion, but it’s possible and much more likely if the Indians decide they need an extra position player off the bench.

The decision for one spot might come down to Goody or Otero as pitcher No. 11, potentially depending on the matchup and if the Indians want to carry Tomlin or Salazar as a multi-inning option in the bullpen along with Clevinger. Thanks to a healthy roster entering the final game of the season, a 12th pitcher might not be necessary with four starters and Clevinger available in the bullpen, along with all the extra days off.

But bullpens are used heavily in the postseason, and avoiding coming anywhere close to a situation like last October (and November) — the bullpen gassed, all three starters throwing on short rest — is something the Indians would surely love to avoid.

Goody this season has a 2.85 ERA, 3.45 FIP and 1.081 WHIP with 72 strikeouts in 53⅔ innings. Otero has posted a 2.90 ERA, 3.64 FIP and 1.220 WHIP with 38 strikeouts in 59 innings. They had also put together identical 2.16 ERAs in September entering Friday.

Not enough layers to this conundrum yet? Let’s make the position players and a major question mark health-wise affect the pitching staff.

The Indians carrying 11 or 12 pitchers, as well as the fate of Tomlin or Salazar, might also have quite a bit to do with Michael Brantley’s status. At best, by the time Game 1 rolls around on Thursday, Brantley will have had only a few days of running under his belt, as he’s struggled mightily to be able to advance past the AlterG (low impact treadmill).

One reason for some optimism for Brantley’s inclusion on the roster is that he has been able to take part in baseball activities, helping him to keep his timing even though he hasn’t appeared in game since Aug. 8.

Some of the position players are no-brainers. Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez will be the catchers. Carlos Santana, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor are, of course, on the roster. Jay Bruce will make it in the outfield. Austin Jackson has had an outstanding season and offers a right-handed bat in the outfield. Jason Kipnis has taken well to center field and has been hitting (.280 BA, .776 OPS since returning from the disabled list).

That’s nine position players out of either 13 or 14. The 10th could be Giovanny Urshela, who has played well and offers a Gold Glove-caliber defender around the diamond. That’s 10.

The major question marks, even after Brantley, remain in the outfield, where there are plenty of options. Lonnie Chisenhall recently returned from a calf injury and would give the Indians a capable defender at all three spots. Brandon Guyer, on the other hand, would seem to be a long shot as he’s rehabbed from a wrist injury and hasn’t been able to do the same baseball activities as Brantley while on the sidelines.

That leads to an interesting decision regarding rookie Greg Allen, a switch-hitting speedster who has been entering late in games as a defensive replacement for Kipnis. The Indians could achieve a similar goal using/shifting Chisehall and Jackson in the outfield, and perhaps keeping someone else off the roster isn’t worth it for a runner and defensive replacement. But Allen would give Indians some genuine value off the bench late in games, a useful piece when every game matters so much.

Going back to the original 10 position players, including Chisenhall and Allen would bring them to 12. That leads to Yandy Diaz, who gives the Indians another infielder and a better option at the plate (hitting .310 since the beginning of August) and a natural complement to Urshela. If they chose that route, it’d bring the Indians to 13 hitters and 24 total players and potentially a decision between a pitcher — Salazar, Tomlin, Goody or Otero depending on who is left by this point — and Brantley, if he can only be a pinch hitter and the Indians still want a full outfield with Allen on the bench.

Brantley’s readiness — both if he makes the roster and in what capacity would he be available — as well as what to do with the potential of having Salazar in some form might be the biggest pieces of the puzzle, which will be completed with some valuable pieces left out of the mix.

It’s odd to think Tomlin could be left off the postseason roster, but a healthy Salazar offers a very high ceiling to a Game 4 start with what he flashed the other night. And it might be necessary to carry Allen and Diaz to make the situational game work off the bench, which Francona loves.

It’s a much different pitching situation than a year ago, and one reason why the Indians enter as AL favorites instead of the underdogs.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RyanLewisABJ