Jun 28, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning in the second game of a baseball doubleheader at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Carrasco Suffers Major Setback

Rough Outing Leaves Carlos Carrasco Reeling

So much was going right for Carlos Carrasco. Then, in the blink of an eye, everything went very wrong for Carlos Carrasco.

After seven nearly pristine innings to start the spring, Carrasco looked destined to become the fifth starter in the Indians 2014 rotation. He had an ERA under 2.00 and looked every bit like the pitcher the Indians thought they were getting when they traded Cliff Lee all those years ago. Throw in the fact that Carrasco is out of options, and the Indians had every incentive in the world to name him the fifth starter.

Now, thanks to a rough 2.2 innings of work on Wednesday, all of that has been turned on its head. The A’s beat up Carrasco to the tune of 8 runs (5 earned), on 9 hits and two walks. Yes, it’s only one outing, but with such a limited sample size from which to judge players during the spring, every outing, good or bad, has a significant impact on the decision that must ultimately be made. For Carlos Carrasco, Wednesday’s implosion could prove to be the death knell on his chances of making the 2014 rotation.

carlos carrasco josh tomlin

Feb 24, 2014; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians pitcher Josh Tomlin takes part in the annual photo day at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, in order for Carrasco to be overlooked for the final spot in the starting rotation, his competition must continue to perform well. As of right now, the most realistic alternatives to Carrasco appear to be Josh Tomlin and Aaron Harang. Trevor Bauer has also been mentioned in passing, but given his struggles dating back to last year and throughout the spring and it is highly unlikely he could do enough to change opinions.

As we have detailed numerous times prior, both Harang and Tomlin have looked great during the Spring thus far. Tomlin has battled his way all the way back from Tommy John surgery and appears ready to make a lasting impact in the starting rotation for the first time in well over a year. So far, he’s posted a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings with 14 strikeouts against 13 hits and 2 walks.

For Harang, he is on the proverbial back nine of his career. At the age of 35, he’s simply looking to catch on with a team and have at least one more go around at the big league level before he calls it quits. Given his combination of experience and lack of financial risk, the Indians may be inclined to choose him over anyone else to fill out the rotation. It also helps that Harang has posted a 2.00 ERA with 6 strikeouts and 2 walks in 9 innings of work.

But back to Carlos Carrasco.

He still has time to show the Indians that this one outing was an anomaly and not the norm moving forward. However, such implosions have been a staple of Carrasco’s career to date. It’s been an exercise in taking one step forward and three steps back every season since they’ve acquired him. But, as previously mentioned, the situation concerning Carrasco’s options, or lack thereof, may be the main factor in the decision that is ultimately made.

Tags: Aaron Harang Carlos Carrasco Cleveland Indians Josh Tomlin

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