Frustration. Fans are feeling it, the players are certainly feeling it and I’m sure Tito Francona was feeling it when he got tossed out of Saturday’s loss to the Tigers.

That’s what a six game losing streak (and a 4-14 record since completing that four-game sweep of Seattle on May 20) will to do a team and fan base.

We’ll get to the frustration that is Carlos Carrasco in a minute.

What struck me most Saturday is that the entire team seems caught in between in most facets of the game. There were several communication struggles on defense, one of which fell in a for a hit between Brantley and Aviles in shallow left. And offensively, very few times did hitters seem to hit “their pitch,” especially against Rick Porcello. They were patient when they needed to be aggressive, falling behind early by taking hittable strikes, or aggressive on pitches they were going to pound into the ground or couldn’t square up. It was as if almost every hitter was just guessing rather than taking what they were given. Part of that I’m sure is human nature and a frustrated team letting a slump affect their approach. I mean, a team that’s just taking advantage of mistakes and not trying to do too much would have obliterated the stuff Jose Valverde was tossing out there in the ninth.

We should keep that in mind, as it’s easy to pin the 6-4 loss all on the erratic shoulders of Carlos Carrasco. Every time I see him pitch, I see the electric stuff, but I also see a pitcher who never makes it easy and always seems to be fighting with himself. Carrasco had little control Saturday and did himself no favors by, for the most part, eliminating the inside half of the plate.

I think most of us understand that because of the suspensions he was terrified to throw inside in case one got away from him. But no pitcher can be effective working to half a plate. Carrasco has good stuff and great AAA results, so I certainly am not anxious to write him off. But if Carrasco wants to be effective at the major league level, he has to grow up and get his head on straight. Being a hot-headed head hunter is unacceptable, but being terrified to use the inside half of the plate isn’t going to cut it either.

* Much like with Carrasco, I’m not ready to write off the Indians’ playoff chances just yet, even at 30-31. But between their play in June and April, it sure looks like those red hot three weeks in May were the outlier.  Then again, the start of this slump coincided with the beginning of this brutal stretch in the schedule, so we’ll see if the Indians have another bounce back in them when the competition gets a little less rough. But the rose colored glasses have certainly grown a little darker lately.

* Bullpen was great: five innings, no runs allowed. Kept the Indians in a game they really didn’t have any business being in.

* I’m not a big believer in the power of managerial ejections. However, some people – including the only ones who matter in these instances, the actual players – seem to get fired up by it. Give Tito Francona credit for sticking up for his guys in the eighth and trying to breathe some life into them.

* Horror with small sample size: In 47.2 AAA innings, Carrasco allowed 19 total runs. In 7.2 MLB innings this year, he has allowed 13.

* Fun with small sample size: Even with a four inning, six run line, Carrasco’s ERA actually went down from 17.18 to 15.26.

We’ll see if Justin Masterson can live up the ace’s mantle Sunday and halt the losing streak and avoid a costly sweep at the hands of the Tigers.


  • The Doctor says:

    what frustrates me the most is that the games aren’t even enjoyable to watch – it’s hideously painful to watch pitchers pitch entire games from behind in the count and then run 3-2 on every single batter only to give up a double after throwing them 8 or 9 pitches. it’s an extremely unpleasant way to watch a game. if you can’t challenge the andy dirks and alex avilas of the world and actually get them out, you might as well just hang up the spikes.

    the way they’re hitting recently, what’s the point of even watching when our pitchers ensure we’re playing from 5 or 6 down after the 3rd inning seemingly every other game? once we get down big early, then we get the “pleasure” of watching everyone swing from their heels the rest of the game like they think hitting the ball harder means it’s worth more runs.
    i hope they turn it around, but they really haven’t shown anything during this losing streak to indicate that it’s even possible. this team is just not at all pleasant to watch right now. can’t wait to not watch masterson as he puts up one of his classic 6 inning, 10 hit, 6 ER performances tomorrow.

  • DP Roberts says:

    I’m very frustrated too – the Indians just don’t seem to be able to compete with the better teams in the league. However, I started looking at the remaining schedule, and it’s actually rather easy – surprisingly easy.

    After the series with the Rangers, the Indians will have (if my mental math is correct)98 games left on the schedule. 71 of those games will be played against teams that currently have a winning record, while only only 27 will be played against teams that are currently winning.

    72% of their remaining games are against teams with losing records. If the Indians are really a .500 ballclub, as their record currently shows, they’re going to be better than their competition for many games to come.

  • Sean Porter says:

    While obviously not a horrid as the stretch of baseball played by the Tribe last August (historically bad, mind you) the last few weeks have really been rough to watch.

    I’m getting to the point where I don’t expect anything good to happen, but feel obligated to watch because, well, it is MY Indians. Basically, it feels like Sundays in the fall and winter with the Browns, 1999 to the present.

    Is it too early to talk about what the Tribe should do in the offseason?

  • Sean Porter says:

    Here’s my two pennies worth of thoughts on Carrasco: While he throws in the mid to upper 90s, he tries to pitch like he’s Josh Tomlin. While it makes sense for a fringe-type guy like Tomlin to hit the corners and stay outside, it makes no sense for Carrasco – and he doesn’t have the command of yet to pull it off.

    Carlos, you have a 95-97 mph fastball. Jam the batters in on the hands with it for Dog’s sake! I never understood why some pitchers prefer to live almost exclusively on the outside of the plate, considering that you then allow hitters to fully extend their arms.

    He also needs a better offspeed pitch, or one with a bigger difference in speed off his fastball. He had one at bat vs either Cabrera that lasted almost 10 pitches, and while he did a good job of mixing his pitches, the speed variance was only 89-97 from slowest to fastest. This allows hitters to gauge your fastball.

  • DP Roberts says:

    Just to clarify (I wish we could edit posts), my previous post should have read “71 of those games will be played against teams that currently have a losing record, while only only 27 will be played against teams that are currently winning.”

    The other teams in the Central, & the number of games they have against winning teams:
    Indians: 27
    Twins: 33
    Royals: 38
    White Sox: 44

    So, the lower 4 teams in the Central have a ton of games left against each other. Aside from that, the other teams in the Central have tough games against the AL East (who already beat the Indians), while the Indians will be playing teams like the Mets & Marlins.

    So, as bad as the Indians have looked lately, if they can compete against the Royals, Twins, and Sox, they have a very good chance of ending the season in second place, and probably a winning record. Not bad for a team in the first year of a rebuild, with no significant changes to a shaky rotation.

  • Sean Porter says:

    Honestly at this point I’m hoping for a winning record. I’d be thrilled with 85 wins.

    (I can’t act super disappointed by all this, I predicted a 80-82 season for the Tribe this year. THIS is exactly what I thought it would be – a super streaky team who will get runs in bunches, go cold for a week or so at a time, and have underwhelming starting pitching. The struggle of the relief corps. is the only thing that I didn’t see…)

  • Bill says:

    I figured before the season satrted we would be a .500 team give or take a few. I still believe that is the case.

    As for Carrasco, im surprised it wasnt worse than it was. He didnt throw a inside pitch and im sure the whole Tigers club knew he wouldnt throw one before the game even started. Its hard to beat any team when they are sitting on an outside fastball and get it consistantly. Almost Impossible to beat one with a lineup like the Tigers