Indians Must Choose Between Carrasco and Tomlin
On Monday afternoon, Carlos Carrasco did his part to make the next decision a difficult one for the Cleveland Indians. After granting Aaron Harang his formal release and demoting Trevor Bauer back to Columbus, that left only Carrasco and Josh Tomlin as the last remaining options for the fifth spot in the Indians’ starting rotation. After allowing three runs on nine while striking out five and walking none in six innings of work, the Indians have another solid performance to use in their final evaluations.
Heading into Monday’s start, Carrasco was fighting an uphill battle of sorts. Josh Tomlin has been impressive all spring long and has rarely encountered a single hiccup on his way to a sub-3.00 ERA in 20 innings of work. Meanwhile, Carrasco, as we have highlighted several times over the past week, was coming off of a terrible performance in which he was lit up for 8 runs in just two innings of work. Monday’s outing went a long way in helping the Indians see where Carrasco is in his development and how he has grown as a pitcher.
You see, the Carlos Carrasco we have come to know over recent years, and become increasingly frustrated with as well, was prone to the types of implosions we witnessed. However, he had made it a habit of letting such implosions carry over into subsequent outings. Before we knew it, Carrasco would be back on his way to Columbus while the next pitcher stepped up to fill his then vacant spot in the rotation. However, what we saw on Monday was that Carrasco could put a bad outing behind him. Not only that, but he could also put the bad outing behind him and perform well under pressure. He needed to pitch well and he did just that.
Of course, Carrasco does have his options, or rather lack thereof, as incentive for him to make the Indians Opening Day roster in some manner. Whether it be in the starting rotation or in the bullpen, the Indians will need to place Carrasco on the roster or risk losing him to waivers. Given his potential and arsenal of pitches, there is no way he clears waivers and makes it to Columbus. Someone would claim him and reap the benefits of his arm.
Now it is Josh Tomlin’s turn to respond. He is sure to take the mound at least one more time before the Indians finalize their decision. It will be up to him to put his best foot forward in order to make the decision as difficult as possible for the Indians. Of course, this could all be a moot point. There is the chance the both Tomlin and Carrasco make the Opening Day roster and eventually split time between the rotation and the bullpen. That may, in fact, end up being the absolute best case scenario.