CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Michael Brantley. Yan Gomes. Danny Salazar.
Now, Carlos Carrasco.
How much more can the Cleveland Indians withstand? And how will they keep fighting, despite losing several key players to injuries this season?
“We don’t have a choice,” reliever Andrew Miller said following Saturday’s 1-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers, reducing the Tribe’s magic number to clinch the American League Central Division to seven.
Emotions were all over the map in the Indians’ clubhouse after the walk-off win in extra innings. The loss of Carlos Carrasco to a non-displaced fracture in his right hand was another crippling blow to Cleveland’s hopes of playing deep into October.
At the same time, Saturday’s game was also a small microcosm of what the Indians have been doing all season long: Fighting through the adversity, scratching and clawing their way to wins.
Here is a small sample of thoughts coming out of the Indians’ locker room after Jose Ramirez’s walk-off single lifted Cleveland to a victory over the Tigers:
Terry Francona, on the loss of Carrasco for the season:
“It will make this more challenging, what we’re trying to do. When we do it, it will feel all that much better. It’s another challenge, but we feel like we’ll figure it out.”
Francona, on his first thought after Carrasco was forced out of the game:
“Right when it happened, I called [bullpen coach Jason Bere] down there and said, ‘Tell them to put their seat belts on. Because they’re all going to pitch and we’re going to win.’”
Francona, on how the Indians will handle the rotation moving forward:
“We might just have to piece it together, but the good news is I think we can.”
Francisco Lindor, on finding a way to keep battling through tough news:
“Huge loss. That’s a huge. We can’t make up [the loss of Carrasco]. Unfortunately, we have to go out there and compete. The way our pitching staff, the bullpen stepped up, huge, man, huge. This game, it meant a lot more to me than a lot of other games this season. I think this is one of my favorite games this season. The way every single guy battled.”
Jose Ramirez (through translator), on the team’s ability to overcome:
“We’re a team, we play together, we’re united. That’s why we’re doing so well and we don’t worry about the things that are going on outside of us. We just keep on playing hard and doing it every day.”
Josh Tomlin, on the bullpen’s ability to toss 10 scoreless innings on Saturday:
“They just came right in, did their job and the next thing you know you win a game. I think that’s what makes special teams, guys realizing, ‘It’s my turn to pitch, it’s my turn to go out there and try to get a big hit.’ It seems like it’s somebody new almost every single night. The bullpen did an unbelievable job.”
Andrew Miller, on his team pushing past Carrasco’s injury to pick up the victory:
“It just seems like this team is special. We have a feeling like we’re going to find a way. Came through again, and I don’t know how many walk-offs they have this year but it seems like we do it on a pretty regular basis. It’s just a fun team, a fun team win. I think we’re going to go home pretty happy.”
Miller, on how the Indians move on from the loss of Carrasco:
“We have to find a way to win no matter who is starting. I think it’s certainly good that we have a lot of starter depth and we have guys with great stuff… We can’t change the reality of the situation. We’ll just find a way to cope with it. We’re going miss him, obviously. I think everybody would. But we’ll find a way.”
Mike Napoli, on the importance of resiliency on any good team:
“When you have guys that come in and are able to step into the role of just being themselves, and not trying to do too much to try to impress, just play their game and step up, it’s huge. That’s what it takes. I don’t think there’s one team that goes through a whole year without a guy going down or being on the DL. It’s the guys that are able to come up and contribute and fill in spots and stay withtin themselves, it’s what we need.”
Mickey Callaway, on the healthy portion of the team’s rotation heading into October:
“The good thing is [Corey] Kluber and [Trevor] Bauer can probably pitch every fourth day, or whenever you need them to. Bauer’s arm never hurts and Kluber’s just a beast. That helps. But, we’re going to prepare guys for the postseason and, if we get in, we’ll go from there.””
Jason Kipnis, on Saturday’s win:
“I was very proud of the way the team responded today… We showed a lot of resiliency today. I just love the way we competed and fought today.”