TORONTO (92.3 The Fan) – Carlos Carrasco continued to control his role as de facto ace of the fine Indians pitching staff on Tuesday, allowing just three base-runners over seven innings, on 97 pitches.
43 of those 97 pitches were four-seam fastballs, garnering 10 of 16 of balls in play, which is to be expected.
Also to be expected were breaking pitches doing considerable damage to opposing hitters. It did.
Of Carrasco’s seven Ks, five were on either his curveball (3) or slider (2), with a changeup and two-seamer earning a strikeout each. All seven were low-and-away, relative to Carrasco’s arm slot.
Cookie also earned two more outs on that curveball that caused a Jose Bautista double-play ball.
The slider was Carrasco’s bread-and-butter. On 17 sliders, Blue Jays hitters watched five strikes, swinging and missing on four more.
“I think it was everything. Every pitch Gomes called, I could throw it for a strike, and I got a lot of groundballs,” Carrasco said.
Carrasco started the day just outside the top-30 in baseball in swings out of the strike zone, and with 11 swinging strikes and 7 strikeouts all outside the zone on Tuesday, he could crack that group.
“When you have the velocity, breaking ball, changeup, you’re (going to get swings and misses out of the strike zone,” Manager Terry Francona said. “They expect his velocity, then with the feel he has for his breaking ball, you’re going to get some chases. When you work ahead – at one point of the game, only three batters had gotten ahead. That’s a great way to work.”
Francona also lauded Cookie’s ability to pitch through pressure situations.
“For most of the game, it’s 2-0,” the skipper added. “It’s nice for us to break it open a little bit, but he pitched the majority of that game where, if you make a mistake, they’re right there. He was really good. He’s been really good. He continues to be.”
Old Gomer and his three-run homer
The offensive albatross known as the Indians catching position may be over, at least for now.
Once viewed by fans as an automatic out, the Tribe have gotten an offensive breakout out of their starting catcher, Yan Gomes, after upwards of two years of collectively poor results at the plate.
It is only a small stretch in a long season that follows the aforementioned two-plus seasons of low average, but the backstop was 2-for-3 with a three-run dinger that was the dagger for the defending AL Champs.
In May, Gomes is now 7-for-12 with three extra-base hits.
“It’s so nice to see,” Francona said. “I know his average – it’s climbing and I know it’s not where he wanted. But the last couple of weeks, he’s been back to being more like Gomer. And that’s good to see. We’ve had a road trip where, as a club, we really haven’t been swinging it.”
Francona lauded his catcher’s overall approach at the plate, namely his pitch selection, and his ability to take what is given.
“I think he’s giving himself a chance more often,” Francona said. He’s taking better passes at the ball, whether it’s hit the ball to right field, and then we get something like, he can drive the balls down. That looked like the Gomer of old, driving something down and getting it out of the ballpark.”