One week ago, Carlos Carrasco was hit in the jaw by a line drive from the bat of Melky Cabrera of the Chicago White Sox. Carrasco had to leave the game after having faced only two batters in the first inning (and was saddled with a loss).
Fortunately, Carrasco was not injured badly. He faced off against the Sox on Tuesday evening with decidedly better results. He seemed in control of both his pitches and his emotions. True, he gave up a first-inning home run to Jose Abreu, but there’s no shame in that—Abreu went deep 36 times last season. And Carrasco struck out the other three hitters he faced in the first.
The Sox didn’t hold their lead for long, as Carlos Santana homered in the top of the second to tie the score. And Carrasco put up goose eggs over the next four innings. Thanks to a David Murphy homer in the top of the fifth and a two-RBI pinch-hit single from Ryan Raburn, the Indians held a 4-1 lead after the top of the sixth. Mindful of several factors, including the cold night and the fact that Carrasco had gone a week between starts, Tribe manager Terry Francona removed Carrasco and turned the game over to the bullpen.
This time the pen did not disappoint, as a sextet of relievers held the White Sox to only one more run over the final four innings. Most importantly, Cody Allen retired all three hitters he faced in the ninth. Granted, it wasn’t a save situation, as he entered the game with a four-run lead, but it had to have been a morale-booster for Allen to pitch so effectively 24 hours after blowing a three-run lead. The final score: Indians 6, White Sox 2.
This was a satisfying win for the Indians. Despite the brief outing, Carrasco looked good out there, striking out eight without walking a single batter. He only threw 60 pitches, but 46 of them were for strikes. And it’s good to see Raburn swinging a hot bat again. I’m willing to forgive his disastrous 2014 season if he can return to the player he was in 2013. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but Raburn’s leading the club in batting average and OPS. He probably won’t keep it up, but I’ll take it while it lasts.
The two home runs for the Tribe brings their 2015 homer count to ten, each and every one of them a solo shot. I don’t know what the MLB record is for most consecutive games to start a season without a home run with at least one runner on base, but the Indians have gone thirteen games without doing it so far.
The two teams conclude the three-game series on Wednesday afternoon. Corey Kluber will try to notch his first victory of the season for the Indians. After an off-day on Thursday, the Indians then face the Tigers for a three-game series in Detroit.