I’ve mentioned on here a few times that I believe Carlos Carrasco is the key to the Indians season.
We all know what Corey Kluber is capable of at the top of the rotation, but in this era of pitching-dominated baseball you can’t expect to go very far with just one ace (unless you have the Royals offense, of course).
Last year Carrasco posted some strong peripheral numbers (mainly FIP and WHIP) but the end result was still only a slightly above-average 3.63 ERA. Most frustrating, however, was the fact that he couldn’t consistently pitch deep into games. In 10 of his 30 starts, Carrasco was removed before completing six innings of work—an inexcusable rate for a supposedly strong No. 2 starter.
So far he’s kept pace with his rate of being removed too early (once in three starts), but that was on a cold early April game in Cleveland, so let’s throw that one out and choose to focus on his last two dominant outings.
Carrasco tossed 6 1/3 solid innings against the Mariners with just one really bad mistake:
— Ryan McCrystal (@TribeFanMcC) April 20, 2016
But that one mistake aside, Carrasco was nearly flawless for the second outing in a row. And while it might be too early to call this a trend, it is an extremely important step in the right direction for Carrasco.
Other thoughts and notes
- Mike Napoli might be an even better addition that I expected. When he makes solid contact the ball just sounds different off the bat. No one else in this lineup (not even Brantley) is capable of ripping line drives line like he did on his RBI double tonight.
- I think Bryan Shaw will be fine, and Francona’s decision to use him in the 8th inning indicates he agrees. There’s no injury (that we’re aware of) so he probably just had a couple bad days. It happens. Two or three bad pitches in April can destroy a relievers ERA for the next three months and that’s probably what happened to Shaw.
- I still remember Paul Assenmacher getting pounded in April, 1997. He allowed five home runs and had a 9.82 ERA by the end of the month. What happened next? Oh just a 1.73 ERA the rest of the way. The April sample size for relievers just isn’t enough to draw any conclusions. It’s roughly the equivalent of giving up on a starter after one bad start.
- Speaking of relievers, Zach McAllister is quietly turning into a legitimate back end of the bullpen weapon. He picked up his first hold of the season tonight. Since the start of last season, he’s generating a 25.2 percent Whiff Rate on his fastball. That ranks 23rd out of 101 qualifying relievers, just above Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal and Royals closer Wade Davis.