Finally, after years of agony waiting for Carlos Carrasco to deliver on his promised potential, Tribe fans were finally rewarded on Monday night. For the first time since he was acquired in the deal for Cliff Lee, Carrasco looked like a potential ace. Unfortunately, it was all for naught as the Tribe found a way to squander an absolutely magnificent performance in a 2-1 defeat to the Kansas City Royals.
For Carrasco, Monday night was a total coming out party. In 7.1 innings of work, he allowed 1 run on 4 hits and a walk while striking out 4 and only walking 1. The most impressive part was Carrasco’s efficiency. He stayed out of tight jams all night long and only threw 90 pitches in those 7.1 innings of work. In fact, he had shown no signs of slowing down when Terry Francona finally pulled the plug in the top of the eighth.
With the Indians up by a score of 1-0 thanks to a Carlos Santana home run in the sixth, Francona decided to protect the lead by bringing in Bryan Shaw to face Alex Gordon with Chris Getz on second and one out. Shaw successfully retired the ever dangerous Gordon, but was unable to get out of the inning unscathed. The next batter, Eric Hosmer, doubled on a looping liner to center that landed in the absolute perfect spot. Gets scored on the play to tie the game and Shaw was credited with a blown save.
In the top of the ninth inning things completely fell apart. Billy Butler doubled to lead off the inning and was lifted for a pinch runner. Lorenzo Cain then walked and David Lough singled on a bunt off of Rich Hill, who had replaced Shaw. Matt Albers then came into the game and uncorked a wild pitch right between the legs of Carlos Santana. Elliot Johnson scored on the play to give the Royals a 2-1 lead that would prove to be the difference in the game.
The Good: Carlos Carrasco. Need I say more? Carrasco pitched 7.1 outstanding innings. It was by far his best performance as a member of the Cleveland Indians and hopefully is a sign of good things to come. Combine a dominant Carrasco with the steady force that has been Justin Masterson and the suddenly red-hot Corey Kluber and this is a pitching staff to be reckoned with.
The Bad: The offense failed to do much of anything against Royals’ starter James Shields. They were only able to put together one run on four hits and that came off of the bat of Carlos Santana. As a result, they wasted a quality performance from Carrasco. That said, it’s not as if this was unexpected. James Shields has been fantastic all year long. Unfortunately, he receives the second lowest run support in the American League, thus why his record is 2-6.
Also, there is no way the Royals should have been able to score on a wild pitch. In that situation, you have to make them put the ball in play. To just gift a run, and the winning run at that, is hard to swallow.
The “Huh?”: John McDonald found his way into the starting lineup today and the only question to ask is why? Yes, Swisher was out of the lineup with a bum shoulder, but surely Francona could have fielded a lineup that included a bat with a little more pop than McDonald.