Carrasco, Indians hitters blank Orioles, 6-0
Jimenez struggles against his former club; Tribe wins five of last six
CLEVELAND—Ubaldo Jimenez was greeted well by his former club in his return trip to Progressive Field.
The Orioles starter wouldn’t even escape the fifth inning.
Tribe hitters embraced Jimenez (4-9, 4.83 ERA) scoring six earned runs on five hits against him in just 4 1/3 innings Saturday, leading to an easy 6-0 shutout.
Backed behind another solid outing from Carlos Carrasco (5-4, 3.27 ERA), the Indians continue their winning ways, having won five of their last six.
Scoring just three runs over their last two games, Cleveland bats struck for three runs off the O’s right-hander in the first inning on one swing of the bat.
“It got us on the board early, that’s important,” Michael Brantley said. “Carrasco kind of took care of the rest. He was working quickly and when he does that, it gets us into a better offensive rhythm. It was a hard fought effort today, a total team effort all around.”
Making his second start since being moved back to the starting rotation, Carrasco flashed signs of the pitcher Jimenez was down the stretch for the Indians last season. The hard-throwing right-hander went seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out five.
“He came out of the shoot really attacking with not just his fastball, but breaking balls and had such a good feel with his off-speed,” manager Terry Francona said. “But he also really stuck a lot of fastballs and looked really good. I was pretty impressed.”
After going 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in his first four starts earlier this year, Carrasco has tossed 12 scoreless innings in his last two outings since transitioning back to a starter role.
“I was talking to [Kevin] Cash before the game and he told me to throw hard, that’s it,” he said. “That made me feel good and that’s what I did. That’s my job. I just want to stay there.”
It marked the first time Carrasco worked seven scoreless innings in over three years, since June 13, 2011.
“I think being out in the bullpen helped a lot with his confidence and kind of understanding who he is,” Francona said. “He’s taking the same mentality into his starts. We had talked about him wanting a spot in the rotation this spring and now he’s going out and earned it by what he’s done. That should be really rewarding for him, because he deserved it.”
“With his stuff, and when he’s throwing strikes and powering the zone like that, he’s fun to watch and he’s fun to play behind,” Brantley said. “He works quickly, gets a lot of outs and has great stuff. He’s a big part of our rotation right now.”
Tribe starters have stepped up great over the last five games, allowing just three earned runs over 39 innings of work, posting an astounding 0.69 ERA.
Brantley also had a hand in the Indians victory, giving Carrasco even more run support in the home half of the fifth.
After a RBI single by Ramirez brought home the club’s fourth run, Brantley deposited a two-run home run to the seats in right field giving his team a six-run cushion. The center fielder is the only player in baseball currently hitting .300+ with 18+ homers, 80+ RBI and 10+ stolen bases.
Cleveland (62-60) moves up a game on first place Kansas City with another victory, sitting five games in back of the Royals in the Central Division.
Up next for Indians: The Tribe looks to sweep the three-game series with Baltimore in the series finale Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Danny Salazar (4-5, 4.88 ERA) gets the start against the Orioles Kevin Gausman (6-4, 3.90 ERA) at 1:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
See what he does next year with a full healthy offseason under his belt- he was very consistent before TJ surgery, regularly pumping out 5-6 IP and most of those being quality starts. He should be in the mix for the five spot next year, along with House and McAllister- you'd be hard-pressed to find a significant upgrade at a cheaper price in terms of cost, and you'd have to give up a decent to good amount of depth to upgrade that spot over a solid, cheap option like Tomlin. House and McAllister can give him the competition next year to ensure he belongs in the rotation or in the bullpen.