In two starts since returning to the rotation, Carlos Carrasco has been seemingly unhittable, giving the Indians hope that they may finally get something out of the Cliff Lee trade.
But after taking a look at the stats from Carrasco last two outings, it’s hard to see where he’s improved. While the end results have improved dramatically, there aren’t any significant changes in his approach that seem to be different.
The most obvious difference between Carrasco’s two starts in August and his April disaster are the walks. In 12 innings in August he has yet to walk a single batter, while he walked nine in four games back in April.
A closer look at the numbers, however, shows that’s probably just dumb luck. Carrasco’s overall strike percentage is up slightly (69 percent, compared to 62 percent) but not enough to immediately jump to the conclusion that he’s capable of sustaining this low walk rate.
Lending further evidence to the fact that Carrasco is just plain lucky is the fact that the rate at which balls are hit hard has actually risen. In his four early season starts, Carrasco was inducing ground balls 51 percent of the time with a line drive rate of 22 percent. In his most recent two starts, the line drive rate has actually rise to 26 percent, with the groundball rate falling to 45 percent.
On those line drives in his past two starts, opponents are batting just .375 against Carrasco, well below the league average of .670 and clearly an unsustainable rate.
This luck shows up even more blatantly in his BABIP, which is down at .161 since returning to the rotation.
So can Carrasco continue this success?
There’s no reason to believe Carrasco can continue this tear without more help from the baseball gods. But there’s also something to be said for the confidence that can build after two dominant starts.
It’s tough to statistically build a case for Carrasco having turned a corner, but I do think it’s reasonable to be hopeful that he can continue to build off these performances.