Smoke Signals: Carrasco’s Efficiency, Offense’s Relaxation

CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Carlos Carrasco was by no means perfect on Friday night, but he was certainly efficient. That efficiency, for at least one inning, made him perfect.

The right-hander became the second player in Indians history to throw an “immaculate inning” in the top of the 5th inning, striking out Nicholas Castellanos, Mikie Mahtook and Jose Iglesias on nine total pitches. The only other pitcher to do it was Justin Masterson on June 2nd, 2014.

Carrasco set all three up brilliantly, finishing each up with a curveball low-and-away. Castellanos was set up with a fastball-curve combo, Mahtook got the reverse treatment, and Iglesias got set up with two fastballs.

chart 3 Smoke Signals: Carrascos Efficiency, Offenses Relaxation

While the 5th inning will get the headlines, Carrasco was consistently efficient in his strikeouts at the least, K’ing seven Tigers on three pitches, with two more coming on four pitches. He finished with a season-high 11 strikeouts.

The slider was a common theme within the strikeouts, accounting for 9 of the 11, including 8 in the same area of the plate.

chart 4 Smoke Signals: Carrascos Efficiency, Offenses Relaxation

Carrasco also managed to get through seven innings on 97 pitches despite scattering nine hits and a walk. Only 9-of-27 at-bats against the 30-year old went more than three pitches.

Acting Manager and Bench Coach Brad Mills said Carrasco’s approach made him successful.

“Consistency’s huge,” Mills said. “(Carrasco) being steady and he knew the approach that he took in that fifth inning. I can’t really talk about that enough. I thought was huge.

“We go through an inning with that we don’t score any runs with nobody out and he goes out and really does a good job of shutting them down. Doesn’t let it swing back and let them get a chance.”

The eight-year veteran has yet to make an All-Star game in his career, despite maybe having the numbers on his side this year and last. There was thought he could be added to the roster with Corey Kluber pulling out, but as the Indians already have five All-Stars, the much deserving Chris Devenski was given the spot.

Regardless, Carrasco remained humble about his snub.

“I’m just happy because five of my teammates did make it,” he said. “I’m really happy for them. It is what it is. It doesn’t matter. I’m just trying to get ready for the second half. I think that’s more important.”

Decline Press

Two nights ago, following the second loss to the San Diego Padres, both Mills and All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor admitted that the team may have been pressing at the plate, accounting for their offensive woes.

In the two games since, the team posted 11 runs in each, on 30 hits and 11 walks.

The at-bats were longer and more fruitful, especially on Friday, as the Indians drew seven walks. One was intentional, though it came on a 3-1 count to Jose Ramirez.

Of the 36 Indians hitters that went to the plate, 7 worked full counts, while 13 saw three-ball counts.

The success was seen all the way down the line as seven of the Indians nine secured base hits, and all reached base.

Despite many to choose from, the best night offensively may have been had by Jason Kipnis, who has struggled in his recovery from shoulder and neck troubles. The second baseman turned in a 2-for-3 effort in which he doubled twice, walked twice, and scored three times.

Mills lauded the former All-Star for his work ethic, and drive through the nagging injuries.

“He’s giving himself a chance by doing that effort and having the at-bats like he’s having,” Mills said. “He starts doing the things he’s doing, he’s going to get some good pitches to hit. And we saw that tonight.”

More from Alex Hooper | 92.3 The Fan
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August 10, 2017
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