With the way the Indians’ offense has performed lately, you simply can’t afford to spot a team a few runs early in the game. You absolutely CANNOT spot a team 8 runs in the first two innings. Yet this is what happened to Fausto Carmona tonight in his shortest outing of the year. Shorter than the Opening Day catastrophe against the Chicago White Sox; shorter than the July 2 game against the Reds when he left injured after just 2 innings. Tonight, Carmona only lasted 1.1 innings as he allowed a steady stream of two-out hits to the Tigers.
This start showcased one of Carmona’s major issues – the fact that he struggles pitching from the stretch. Batters’ averages are almost 100 points higher off Carmona in the stretch, versus the windup. There were two outs and the bases were empty when Carmona walked Delmon Young; that’s when everything went to pieces. What I think is most frustrating about this start is that Carmona seemed to be turning the corner, despite his inconsistencies this season. He allowed 5 earned runs in the Indians’ 8-7 win over the Royals on August 27. Other than that, Carmona had not allowed 5 or more earned runs in an entire game since June 20 against Colorado. Nobody will be able to solve the Fausto Carmona puzzle until they’re able to determine why he is so ineffective pitching from the stretch.
Not to excuse Carmona’s poor pitching, but did it really even matter that he pitched terrible tonight? When the offense gets 1 run on 4 hits, it’s not like the Indians really had a chance of winning, even if Carmona pitched a great game. I need to check the numbers, but the Indians television announcers were saying tonight that the 2011 Indians may set the club record for team strikeouts. I’m not surprised by this, because they constantly strike out. And not to pick on him (since everyone is doing pretty terrible) but why would Grady Sizemore still be batting leadoff? Let the job go to Kosuke Fukudome for now; it can’t help the offense any to have Sizemore in the top spot.
In more bad/injury news, Carlos Carrasco will have Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2012 season. I know you don’t want to jump into such a complex surgery without being certain it’s a last resort, however, I’m not sure why the team waited so long for Carrasco to undergo the procedure. It seemed like the writing has been on the wall for a while now; better to get it out of the way so he can begin rehab and work his way back to the starting rotation.
Back when the Indians traded Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez I made my thoughts known on the subject (although obviously this particular blog didn’t exist yet). At the time, I was almost more disappointed in the loss of Martinez. Even though Cliff Lee is an incredible pitcher, he didn’t seem like the heart and soul of the team, as Martinez did. Despite my personal feelings on the loss of both players, at the time I said that I was actually pretty happy with the Martinez trade, but questioned the players the Indians received for Lee. Even though Lou Marson is a solid defensive catcher, and Jason Donald is a reasonably good infielder, the other two players in the deal – Carrasco and minor league pitcher Jason Knapp – have both had serious injuries in their short careers. Knapp, who was supposedly the centerpiece of the deal, had his second major shoulder surgery over the summer. He already had shoulder and arm troubles at the time of the Lee trade; now Carrasco is on the way to Tommy John surgery.