Carrasco struggles as Tribe falls to Oakland, 13-3
Athletics score 13 runs over the final five innings for an easy victory
Player of the Game: Nate Freiman (2-for-2 with a three-run homer and 4 RBI )
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.
- 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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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...
If Shawn Marcum get healthy and get his command back he will be a factor for the rotation hopefully by June.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.