Cleveland (92.3 the Fan) – “Tough luck loser” would probably be an apt term for Carlos Carrasco’s fifth start of the year.
Cookie was tough to break on Friday night, but he did enough in his eyes to give the Mariners their win to open the three-game series. The righty was tremendous over eight innings of work, striking out seven.
The extra-base hits that got to the righty, as four of the six baserunners he allowed moved past first, including a Ben Gamel double on an 0-2 fastball to open the fourth. Two pitches later, Carrasco left that same fastball middle-in to Robinson Cano who decided the game on a 2-run home run to center.
“I think I only made two bad pitches. I was supposed to throw it a little more up on Cano. It kind of came back to the middle.”
Carrasco said his approach to the slugging second baseman was the correct one, but it was the lonely mistake that changed the game.
“I think the best way to attack him is the same way I did in the first inning and the same way I did in the third at-bat. I think I did a great job with the way I pitched him, it was just one pitch. I missed my spot.”
The perennial all-star has had career success against Carrasco, splitting .429/.467/.786 against the righty coming into the game, with 6 hits in 14 at-bats including 2 doubles and a home run.
Carrasco kept Mariners hitters off balance with breaking balls low and out of the zone, but opposing hitters were patient, hitting pitches that were left up.
The right-hander’s four-seam fastball averaged 93.5 mph on the night, just shy of his 93.9 mph average since 2016. His two-seamer, though only five of them, did show a drop off in velocity, averaging 90.9 and maxing out at 91.8 mph, a notable difference from the 93.5 mph average for his career.
“I didn’t think he had his great fastball tonight,” Manager Terry Francona said. “Couple mistakes with the runs. Miss-located a couple of pitches and those are the runs, but when you go eight and give up three, you gotta figure we’ve got a pretty good chance to win.”
Not a chance
The Indians starter did make one more notable mistake, another four-seam fastball that he left right down Broadway, which Gamel turned into a home run and a 3-1 Mariners lead.
Not to take anything away from the Seattle right fielder, but all indications were that the solo shot should have been a fly out to Abraham Almonte.
Statcast projected the round-tripper with a 11 percent chance of becoming a hit, with only 10 other home runs in baseball since 2016 with a similar launch angle (40 degrees) and exit velocity (98.3 mph).
The Tribe’s struggles against left-handed starters held true as Ariel Miranda held the team to two hits over 5 1/3 IP, striking out seven, but their struggles were only beginning.
Mariner lefty James Pazos relieved Miranda with the tying run at the plate in the form of Edwin Encarnacion. The southpaw sat down the Indians cleanup hitter on three pitches before striking out Jose Ramirez on four to end the inning.
Pazos began the seventh by striking out Jason Kipnis on three pitches and getting Austin Jackson looking after a fine at-bat.
The lefty, in just his 39th career appearance, went 2 1/3 IP while throwing 23 sinkers at an average velocity of 96.8 mph and pulling the string with a slider that sat at 81.1 on average. 3 Pazos strikeouts came on the sinker.