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Carrasco struggles as Tribe falls to Oakland, 13-3

Athletics score 13 runs over the final five innings for an easy victory

Carrasco struggles as Tribe falls to Oakland, 13-3
Danny Salazar pitched well in his second spring start, tossing 3 2/3 shutout innings. (Photo: ESPN.com)
March 19, 2014
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Player of the Game: Nate Freiman (2-for-2 with a three-run homer and 4 RBI )

Leading Off

It was a tale of the good, the bad and the ugly Wednesday afternoon at Goodyear Ballpark.

Things looked good early on for the Tribe, as Indians hitters jumped out to a three run lead through the first four innings against Oakland.

Utility man Mike Aviles got the offense going with a RBI single off A’s starter Dan Straily in the third inning, before Matt Carson and rookie Francisco Lindor added RBI base-hits of their own a frame later.

Despite a fast start, that would be all the scoring for the Wahoo’s in this one, as the Athletics outscored the Tribe 13-0 over the final five innings to pickup an easy 13-3 win.

Cleveland starter Danny Salazar pitched well in his second spring start. The right-hander allowed just three hits in 3 2/3 shutout innings, walking two and striking out three.

The bad came after Salazar departed, when Athletics hitters scored eight runs (five earned) against right-hander Carlos Carrasco. Set to toss five innings, Carrasco lasted just 2 2/3 innings allowing nine hits to the 20 batters he faced.

It was all ugly from then on, as Oakland tacked on another five runs over the final two frames, highlighted by a three-run homer by 27-year old first baseman Nate Freiman.

Rotation in question?

Just as it looked like things were winding down in the starting rotation race, it has now become cloudy across the cloudless Arizona sky.

Yes, it's just one bad start for Carrasco, but with spring training coming to a close in one week from this Saturday, did the 27-year old right-hander pitch himeself out of the rotation?

Prior to his start Tuesday, Carrasco gave up just one earned run in seven innings this spring, walking one and striking out nine. Manager Terry Francona would like to see the hard-throwing starter win the vacant spot, but there's a dark horse in the race that realistically may come out with the job instead.

That dark horse is Josh Tomlin, who could end up sneaking into the rotation after several solid outings this spring. In 14 innings, the right-hander has given up four runs on 13 hits while also striking out 14. With Tribe pitchers finishing second in the American League in walks last year as a team, the finesse Tomlin would help cut down on free passes if he won the job.

Veteran starter Aaron Harang is the other starter to watch still keep an eye on in camp, as he's allowed only two runs over a full nine innings of work.

No matter what happens, Carrasco will be on the Opening Day roster regardless as he is out of minor league options. Whether his role will be in the bullpen or rotation though still remains a mystery.

Future is near for Lindor

One of the lone bright side on offense from the Tribe came from 20-year old shortstop Francisco Lindor. Rated as the 13th best prospect in all of baseball, Lindor went 2-for-4 with a RBI against the A's.

The rookie has looked great so far this spring, outshining many big league starters in camp. In 10 games, Lindor has hit .316 (6-for-19) with two doubles, one homer, five RBI and six runs scored.

Like many have predicted, the switch-hitting phenom could be on the fast track to the majors as early as this season, where he will look to live up to the hype as the top prospect in the Indians organization.

Other notables:

  • Cleveland committed two errors in the contest, both by third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall. Battling Carlos Santana for the hot corner job, each player has two errors at third base this spring.
  • Playing in his first game since March 7, outfielder Ryan Raburn collected a hit in four trips to the plate Wednesday. Raburn has at least one hit in each of his six Cactus League games.
  • Former Indians 2010 first round draft pick Drew Pomeranz picked up the win for the A’s in the ballgame. The left-hander was dealt from the Tribe to the Colorado Rockies as one of the pieces in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal back in 2011. He was traded to Oakland this winter in a package that sent former Athletics starter Brett Anderson to the Rockies. In 34 career games, the 25-year old Pomeranz is 4-14 with a 5.20 ERA.

Closing Time

Dropping three of their last six, Cleveland still sits at the top of the Cactus League standings with a 15-5-2 record this spring.

Prior to the ballgame, the team announced another round of roster cuts as four more players were let go from the Major League Spring Training roster. Left-hander Colt Hynes, infielder David Adams and right-handers Frank Herrmann and Preston Guilmet were optioned to Triple-A Columbus.

The big league roster now sits at 42 players.

Up next for Indians: After a rare off day Thursday, the Tribe will travel to Salt River Fields to take on the Colorado Rockies Friday at 4:10 p.m. ET. Justin Masterson is scheduled to make his fifth start against the Rockies, which will mark two weeks from the Indians home opener.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

User Comments

Hermie13
March 21, 2014 - 9:25 AM EDT
@shy


Carrasco probably would benefit from a change of scenery...but think he will benefit from a real shot at a big league job too, even if it's in Cleveland. If he was dealt I wouldn't lose any sleep but we need arms so feel the best option is to keep him.
Hermie13
March 21, 2014 - 9:23 AM EDT
@Walter

Yes teams need pitching...but they need good pitching and Carrasco just hasn't shown that he is that yet. Like I said, maybe the Tribe gets lucky and snags a diamond in the rough, but wouldn't count on it. Maybe you get more than we got for Jeanmar Gomez...
Walter
March 20, 2014 - 11:52 PM EDT
With pitchers having arm and shoulder issues across the league and everyone is looking for pitching, I'm sorry but Carrasco does have trade value. I guess FO needs to pull of another Yan Gomes type of deal.

If Shawn Marcum get healthy and get his command back he will be a factor for the rotation hopefully by June.
shy
March 20, 2014 - 10:18 PM EDT
Yes I realized after I posted that Houston is in the A.L. now- I did not sleep in a Holiday Inn last night- I didn't sleep much at all actually, but that's another story. At least I didn't refer to them as the Colt 45's. The idea is Carrasco would be attractive to a bad but building team like Houston or Chicago Cubs because he would make the roster immediately and the out of options issue would be moot. I don't know if he would ultimately succeed in one of those places, but at the very least he would get regular opportunities to pitch. I think he would benefit from a change of venue and so would the Indians.
Hermie13
March 20, 2014 - 4:49 PM EDT
@Walter

While I'm optimistic that Carrasco can break out this year....I'm also realistic...he doesn't have much trade value now. Out of options hurts plus lack of recent big league success. Maybe you get a lowly spec but wouldn't hold my breath on anything all that special...though the Tribe has shown the ability to get something for seemingly nothing before...


@shy

Remember....Houston is in the AL now...so Carrasco wouldn't have to hit there anymore than in Cleveland.


Only way I see Carrasco being traded for anything good is if he's a thrown-in for a larger deal....like maybe Samardzija. Carrasco wouldn't be a bad option for Chicago to fill in for Shark in a year where the Cubs aren't supposed to compete. He can take his lumps..if he works out great, if he doesn't o well. Wouldn't be the main piece or even the 2nd piece in that deal though.
Hermie13
March 20, 2014 - 4:44 PM EDT
"Tomlin hasn't struggled most of his career Hermie13, he has only struggled for a month and half before getting his T.John diagnosis."

Unfortunately this is not true. He was good in April and May of 2011...his ERA from June on that year was over 5. Then in 2012 his ERA was over 5 for most of the year before his elbow game out. In fact, his ERA in the 1st half of 2012 was 5.45. Sure his FIP was better but still 4.67. Compare that to Carrasco's first half before blowing out his elbow: 3.91 FIP, 3.90 xFIP.

Now...maybe Tomlin's elbow had been bugging him since June of 2011 and he just was a trooper and lasted til the August of 2012 (he did miss the end of 2011 with some elbow soreness), but somehow I doubt that the elbow was the sole cause here.

Tomlin has pitched 343.2 innings in his career with a 4.92 ERA, 4.58 FIP, and 4.42 xFIP. Carrasco in his career has thrown 238.1 innings in his career with a 5.29 ERA, 4.48 FIP, and 4.08 xFIP. Easy case can be made that Carrasco has actually been better in his career. Do appreciate what Tomlin was able to do with eating innings in 2011 (averaged 6.1 IP per start which is very good)....I just realize that most of Tomlin's positives came early that year. Was it the elbow or did teams figure him out?


I am not a "prime of example" of dismissing Tomlin because he doesn't throw 95. I am not a big Tomlin fan, I'll agree to that, but has nothing to do with his velocity. He simply is overrated by fans IMO and hasn't pitched as well as they seem to think. Also, I am not trying to pump up Carrasco as some savior. Simply pointing out he hasn't gotten all these chances like some claim. He got a chance in 2011...and had an absolutely amazing July before his elbow crapped out on him. Didn't get a chance in 2012 cause of rehab and didn't last year really. Carrasco has talent, that is very easy to see. 2014 is a make or break year for him without a doubt...we shall see if he's up for the task. Really hoping he does pan out, and not just because we got him for Lee. That 2011 of his was not that far off what Masterson and Westbrook did before they broke out....sucks Carrasco got sidetracked with the elbow and missed so much time.
shy
March 20, 2014 - 4:40 PM EDT
How about Carrasco to Houston? He looks good opening day in an Astros uniform and the Tribe looks good w a couple of draft picks/prospects. And if he's thinking about plucking anybody, remember he has to bat there. It's brilliant. If any of you have Chis Antonetti's email or phone, please put the bug in his ear.
Rick
March 20, 2014 - 3:39 PM EDT
@Hermie13....'but if you go with Tomlin and he struggles like he has for most of his career....then what?'

Tomlin hasn't struggled most of his career Hermie13, he has only struggled for a month and half before getting his T.John diagnosis.

Other than that he has a proven track record of success, which probably accounts for Tito's praise that the way he is pitching now makes a strong case for a long successful career.

Carrasco on the other hand had a month of quality starts that has mesmerized some like yourself before he went berserk on the mound and then was diagnosed for T.John.

He's 27 and you claim he's never been given a chance?

What do you define as a chance? Who has 'blocked' his opportunity to crack the rotation? Kluber? McCallister? Salazar?

How about before that? Mitch Talbot?

Likewise I don't agree with your claims that choosing the best pitcher to field somehow limits depth. I trust Callaway and Tito that if Harang isn't starting he isn't up to it, rather than us 'loosing him.'

You are a prime example of people dismissing Tomlin because he doesn't throw 95+. The excuse now is he has an option. Truth is you don't have any respect for his abilities. Period. Otherwise you wouldn't try and peddle that he's been a struggling pitcher all his career.

Not only did he pitch successfully on what then was a much lesser team (a non-contender) he holds runners (something Carrasco could/should learn) and were he given a real chance to be an every day starter - would be hands down a favorite for a golden glove.

Posts like yours are exhibit A for what I said. You are in love with Carlos' potential, and willing to hold back winning to prove that loves the real thing.
Walter
March 20, 2014 - 3:21 PM EDT
I believe if the Indians offered Carrasco in a trade, there would be a lot teams would be interested to seek his services, This feels same when many wanted the Indians to get rid of Jimenez last year. I think, but not sure that Carrasco is having better spring training than Jimenez had last spring. By the way how is Ubaldo doing in Oriole camp?
Hermie13
March 20, 2014 - 2:48 PM EDT
I don't see why the 5th spot is "Tomlin's job"....agree to this point he's now been better but not like he's been great in his Tribe career. Unlike Carrasco, Tomlin was given a lot of leeway and given an extended look...was great the first two months of 2011 and ever since, ERA well over 5.

Season is a marathon, not a sprint. You will need 7+ starters to get thru it. By making Tomlin the 5th starter and losing Harang and Carrasco (since you don't want him in the pen), you really hurt your depth and chances of competing in 2014...unless you think Bauer and House will step up. Having Tomlin in AAA is the best course right now still IMO. If Carrasco struggles fine, bring up Tomlin....but if you go with Tomlin and he struggles like he has for most of his career....then what? Maybe Bauer is ready to go and it's a moot point but give me as much pitching depth as possible. Marcum could help but still no guarantee he'll ever be healthy.
shy
March 20, 2014 - 1:15 PM EDT
Per Walter's comment that McCallister gave up 6 runs and no one is worrying about him but they're all over Carrasco. Look, McCallister's outing was disappointing but he won more games last year than Carrasco has won in his entire career. He has proven he can stay focused and make adjustments and be a successful pitcher. Carrasco has not. There is no way Carrasco makes the opening day roster as a starter, that's Tomlin's job and Harang is next in line. To put him on as a reliever would also be unfair to Pestano, and CC Lee. They have to try to move him.
Hermie13
March 20, 2014 - 12:54 PM EDT
I really don't get why everyone keeps saying Carrasco has been given a long leash and acts like he has had so many chances to prove himself.

He did get a long look in 2011...when he actually was putting things together. Course the injury popped up and cost him the end of 2011 and all of 2012. Last year he did not get much of a leash at all. Sure part of that was his own doing and getting suspended, and I fully understand why he wasn't given really any chances (we were in a playoff race).

All for giving Carrasco a real shot at a rotation spot.


Also agree with Tony completely on Tomlin. If he's not in the rotatoin then he needs to go to AAA. Need to keep him stretched out as a starter. Plus...is he a better reliever than Wood who may be the last bullpen arm right now? IMO he's not...I mean sure he'd probably do fine in the pen, but you're wasting an asset in the pen with Tomlin.
James
March 20, 2014 - 12:44 PM EDT
The main point is we need depth beyond Tomlin/Carrasco which we simply don't have right now. We have 6SP and Kluber/McAllister could both regress plus Carrasco hasn't shown anything that suggests he is different. Odds are very, very good between performance and/or injury we are going to need a 7th starter soon. Bauer? Marcum? House? Anyone comfortable with them? Keeping Harang around at the beginning of the season at least gives us some shot at depth. If we lose him I think we are in a lot of trouble come May/June....
Rick
March 20, 2014 - 12:26 PM EDT
Also, word is that despite the great spring Pomeranz is having, and the shambles the A's starting row is in, they are not pushing Drew into a much needed spot.

I think that illustrates why Oakland has been so good at developing young arms. His confidence took a beating in Colorado. He's not ready to start, no matter how badly they wish he was.

It's a similar story with Carlos. He had the moment on the mound when he was pitching with great confidence and then his elbow blew up. He has not recaptured it since.

He has to take the positive attitude that pitching relief is an opportunity, and then trust that Tito and Calloway can manage him in a way to make transitioning to starting again a possibility once that opportunity arises.

If they don't put him in the pen now, then they will have to game manage him much more delicately than they did Ubaldo last year.

If he doesn't see it as an oppertunity, then they should trade him and be done with it.

Because the teasing is for the also-rans of the world. Let the fans in Toronto suffer his (and Kyle Drabeck - the other arm we didint' get for Lee) 'front of the rotation stuff' that only shows up for 1-3 innings now.

We have suffered the waiting enough. You do realize you are near pushing a 7 year itch with this guy, right? 5 here and 2+ with Philly?
Rick
March 20, 2014 - 12:08 PM EDT
Can't agree Tony. He's 27, he's gotten the leash he has because his stuff dazzles and he was the centerpiece in the Cliff Lee deal. Sure he pitched well up until he had to go 4 innings. Because, as Terry Pluto [among others] has pointed out, he translates to relief.

People can't stand that idea because his stuff is so good. The problem has now remained the same problem since Philly cut him loose. He can't stop the big inning when he starts.

Put him in the Pen and let him learn to pitch to contact - which is what he won't do when he gets hit. He's good for 2-3 innings right now, not six.

Nor does this team have the luxury of hand holding a needy thing at the big league level.

There is no reason this cannot be a win win. His whole career has been a tease. His problem, and it is his problem, is in his head.

If he proves steady in the pen, eventually he will get a shot at starting again.
Tony
March 20, 2014 - 10:48 AM EDT
I don't see any situation where Tomlin is on the team in the pen. If he is not the fifth starter in Cleveland, he is in Columbus getting his regular work in as a depth starter as the first option to call upon when a need arises (and will arise). And I said from the beginning, unless Carrasco gets hurt or he is just absolutely awful this spring, he is the fifth starter. His outing last night to me changes nothing. It is interesting that they both pitched the same day.....Carrasco with the Indians and Tomlin in a minor league game with Columbus. Possible foreshadowing there.....but like I said, I think the decision all along has been to give Carrasco one final shot at the rotation as they are out of time with him. They have lots of time with Tomlin (3 option years remaining).
Walter
March 20, 2014 - 8:53 AM EDT
McAllister gave up 6 runs the other night should we start worrying about him? All pitchers have bad outings. The real question is can he bounce back from a bad one. I think this where everyone feels that Carrasco lack mental toughness and does not trust his stuff. Francona believes he has top of rotation stuff, but I think Carrasco has doubts which prevents him to go to the next level.
Rich
March 20, 2014 - 8:47 AM EDT
Yeah, Harang could actually get the job, much like Kazmir last year. No harm in parking Tomlin in Columbus until we see what Harang has left.

Francona admitted he was "frustrated" with Carrasco. It's not just one bad outing. The same thing happened in a B game where his fastball was getting hit so he stopped throwing it when Francona and Callaway wanted him to stay with it.

He'll get another shot in the next ten days, so that will be a big opportunity for him. He has to prove he's not another pitcher with great stuff who can never make it translate to effective pitching.
James
March 20, 2014 - 8:29 AM EDT
Seems like Carrasco is the same ol' Carrasco, but we are going to have to make him prove it over 3-4 starts because of the option thing. Tomlin will be the #5 starter by early May. Would ideally like Carrasco in pen, Tomlin in minors and Harang as #5 to start, just to see if he is anything, as we will surely lose him otherwise and definitely need another starter.
Chip
March 20, 2014 - 5:38 AM EDT
I doubt one bad appearance by Carrasco will do him in. He had pitched really well up to that point. Now if his ill ways continue to his next couple appearances then that is a different matter. I could honestly see a piggy back role with Salazar and Tomlin or Salazar and Carrasco. Tomlin has looked really good too and certainly deserves to be on the 25 man.

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