by Kyle Lewandowski
CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Prior to the All-Star break, Carlos Carrasco had looked like the starting pitcher the Indians had missed dearly last year during the World Series.
Carrasco came out of the break not so hot, giving up at least five runs in four of his first eight starts out of the break. Since allowing six runs on August 22 at Fenway Park, Carrasco has the looks of a number-two starter heading towards October to Corey Kluber’s ace once again.
In his first eight starts after the break, Carrasco saw his ERA rise from 3.44 to 3.95. It has taken just four outings to shrink that number back down to 3.41.
Carrasco didn’t have his best stuff early Monday night, but managed to toss six scoreless innings, allowing seven hits and one walk while striking out nine. The only Tiger to reach third base off of the right-hander was Miguel Cabrera when a Nick Castellanos double got him there in the 1st.
“He didn’t feel real strong coming into the game,” Manager Terry Francona said. “Early, he had to pitch out of some traffic, but he executed pitches.”
Carrasco did just that when he fanned the bottom third of the Tiger lineup in order to end the 2nd inning after James McCann led off the frame with a single.
“My body didn’t feel great, but I didn’t say anything,” Carrasco said. “Sometimes you have to fight with that. Even if my body doesn’t feel good, I just go out there and do my job.”
The seven-year veteran has practiced what he has preached over his last four outings as the Indians have seen everything they want from the 30-year old. He’s gone 29 innings over that span, allowing two runs with a strikeout-to-walk rate of 34-1.
“Because of whatever happened in the past years, he’s throwing more now than he ever has.” Tito said of Carrasco’s workload. “But he looks strong.”
Carrasco, who has hurled 179.1 innings so far this season, is well on his way to surpassing his career-high of 183.2 in 2015.
Along with the innings pitched, Carrasco is on pace to set a new career mark in strikeouts. He’s only 15 shy of his 216 tally from 2015 when he was one of 14 players to receive votes for the American League Cy Young.
“What does it mean? A lot,” Carrasco said on approaching career-highs. “But you know what, I think I have three more starts, and I need to go do my best job right there, kind of finish my season. That’s that and we go from there. But I think the most important thing is just finishing my season strong.”
Soon, the calendar will shift to October and if Carrasco stays in his strong form, the Indians will have a key piece they were missing during last year’s World Series run.