Obviously it’s far too early for must-win games, but Wednesday’s victory over the Rays still felt like a big confidence boost for the Tribe.
Carlos Carrasco was brilliant, allowing just one run on four hits in eight innings of work. After a dreadful first outing, it was great to see Cookie back on track.
If the Indians are going to overachieve with this roster and win 88+ games to make the playoffs, it’s going to take a strong year from Carrasco.
In 2015, Cookie was all over the map and his inconsistent performances were a contributing factor to the Tribe never really getting hot and rattling off a dominant stretch.
We know what we’re getting from Kluber, but Carrasco has to be able to follow up his performances with strong outings to help the Tribe piece together some winning streaks.
Other quick notes and thoughts…
- Carrasco generated 18 swings and misses. He topped that total just four times in 2015, including a career-high 30—also against Tampa Bay.
- Some fans are starting to question Collin Cowgill‘s place in the lineup, as he’s been pretty brutal in limited playing time (0-3, 3 K on Wednesday). But remember, he’s only playing because Tyler Naquin can’t face lefties. And no, this isn’t a case of just needing to give him a chance; he really is terrible. In his minor league career Naquin is a .247 career hitter against lefties. That’s against minor leaguers. No experiment needed at the major league level.
- It will be interesting to see how the Indians set their lineup once Brantley and Chisenhall return. The outfield has been absolutely terrible offensively. Rajai Davis has not inspired any confidence in his ability to keep the centerfield job. Maybe Brantley plays center, with Byrd getting more playing time in left?
- The assumption (based on early results) is that Cowgill is the odd man out once Brantley and/or Chisenhall returns. But I’m not sure that’s the case. Cowgill is an excellent defensive outfielder and they may want to keep him around to platoon with Chisenhall (who also can’t hit lefties). I suspect Naquin gets the boot, along with someone from the bullpen.