Whenever Corey Kluber finally makes a start for the Indians while filling in for the injured Brett Myers (with David Huff off the 40-man roster, someone had to be the new rain-man), he will be the eighth pitcher to make a start for the Indians in 2013.
In 2012 the Cincinnati Reds had six different pitchers make starts. That sixth only made one start; they won 97 games.
Using six starters usually does mean you were relatively lucky in the injury department, but if that’s the case, you have a chance at winning a lot of games.
Meanwhile, the Indians are counting on the likes of Scott Kazmir to play a big role on the pitching staff now. Obviously at the start of the year, pitching was a big concern. Recent weeks haven’t made things any easier.
Brett Myers is currently on the 15 day-DL with a UCL strain. The word UCL and strain are two of the worst things a pitcher can hear.
Thursday night Carlos Carrasco took a line drive off of his pitching elbow and was taken to a hospital near Scranton. Donnie Collins of the Tribune Times in Scranton tweeted that Carrasco’s arm was hanging very awkwardly after it. He showed up to the game in a wrap after being diagnosed with a deep contusion to the elbow. The injury could have been much worse but Carrasco isn’t out of the woods quite yet. He’ll likely have to be checked again once the swelling in his elbow goes down. With his eight game suspension, he probably wasn’t coming up again any time soon because it would be too hard to let him take up a roster spot for eight games, given the Indians need for quality starting pitching at the moment.
In 14.2 innings Carrasco had a 16/2 K/BB ratio in three outings, but he’s day to day for the moment.
David Huff has been pitching out of the bullpen in AAA Columbus so probably isn’t an option as a starter, nor is he even on the 40 man roster at this time.
In the same game Wednesday, Giovanni Soto left his appearance early as well, but no update has been released on him. He’s been moved to the bullpen for the time being. The Indians feel he might have a faster track to the big leagues in the bullpen, which makes sense. I see a lot of Rafael Perez in him, with the movement in his pitches. He no longer is depth for the Indians as a starter for the time being. Scott Barnes is still a reliever as well.
Trevor Bauer has already made a start and has produced good results in his first few outings. But in his last outing, he threw 97 pitches in just five innings with about a 50/50 split on strikes and balls. One NL scout said he graded every single one of Bauer’s pitches “above average” last week, despite calling it a bad outing. The same scout clearly said though, that he needs time to work on his command. The Indians may be forced to use him again sooner than later, but in a perfect world, he’d probably be in AAA till about August.
Daisuke Matsuzaka hasn’t offered much hope and may still be working his way back up to 100%.
TJ House is 2-1 in four starts with Akron with 27 strikeouts in 22.1 innings of work. He’s been able to throw all of his pitches for strikes in any count. He really could be maturing into a pitcher, which the Indians know he needs to do, because he isn’t a power pitcher. The left hander was just promoted to AAA Columbus today. Given the way things are shaking out, he could make his debut this year.
Injuries have taken a toll on the Indians pitching depth already, which is what they came into the year having. Danny Salazar at Akron is also on the Indians 40 man roster, so technically he is an option as well at the moment. In years past the Indians may have used Huff again or Matsuzaka as options, but House and Bauer at the moment are the next two in line to make starts, behind Kluber. That’s not exactly a good state of affairs for their pitching staff however, that came into the season with an abundance of questions.