Indians starter Carlos Carrasco is acting a lot like a reliever these days – by design.
And since moving to the rotation on Aug. 10, he’s looking a lot like a very successful reliever – himself.
When re-inserted into the Indians starting rotation for an Aug. 10 start vs. the Yankees in New York, Carrasco has carried over all of his habits from his successful 26-game stint in the bullpen.
Typically, when the entire team emerges from their clubhouse for an early stretch before batting practice, that day’s starting pitcher remains in the clubhouse. He also stays there during BP, when the rest of the pitchers shag fly balls in the outfield.
After BP is over, the scheduled starter will proceed to his team’s dugout approximately 30 minutes before first pitch to go through a myriad of exercises with pitching coach Mickey Callaway, bullpen coach Kevin Cash and, catchers Roberto Perez and Yan Gomes (whoever is starting that day).
Carrasco has bucked conventional wisdom by changing that typical starter routine – and it’s worked brilliantly. Last season and in April this year, Carrasco admitted to struggling with the mental aspect of being in the rotation, with thinking for four days about who he’ll be facing on his day.
After struggling in the rotation, Carrasco moved to the pen, where in 39 innings he allowed 8ER (1.85 ERA), with 34 strikeouts and a .200 opponents average.
When Carrasco moved back to the rotation, he carried a reliever’s routine over. He stretches early with his pitcher friends. He shags fly balls. He heads to the bullpen area to meet Callaway, Cash and the catcher about 15 minutes before first pitch, and throws fewer pitches than a more typical starter’s warmup would entail.
It’s worked: In Carrasco’s four starts, he’s 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA over 24.2 innings, with 24 strikeouts.
“Being in the bullpen is a different mindset; it’s a credit to all those relievers who played a role in relaxing his mind a little bit,” Cash said. “Starters have four days to dwell on things – as a reliever, you’d better get over it. Carlos learned that and responded.”
Baseball by nature has a lot of down time – a lot of time to think, especially on the road, where Carrasco will start tonight, in Chicago. Getting out of the clubhouse early, and remaining active, has helped Carrasco on the days he’s started.
“It’s a way to keep him mentally engaged,” Callaway said.
For his part, Carrasco said he has stopped dwelling on too much before his starts, and has kept it simple: Just pitch.
“You don’t have to save anything,” he’s told reporters after a couple starts. “I just go as hard as I can go.”
–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond
The Indians are one win away from the 9,000th victory in club history after Thursday night’s win over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Tribe is third all-time in wins among American League franchises (behind the Yankees and Boston); the Indians were a charter member of the AL, established in 1901. The National League came before it.
The Indians have won 85 or more games 36 times, and 90 or more games in 18 seasons.
Below is a list of notable wins in franchise history.
–Research by Jeremy Feador
1: Cleveland Blues vs. Chicago White Sox — 10-4 (4/27/01)
198: Bill Bradley hits for the cycle vs. Washington — 12-2 (9/24/03)
615: Bob Rhoads no-hitter vs. Boston, the franchise’s first — 2-1 (9/18/08)
624: Addie Joss’ perfect game vs. White Sox — 1-0 (10/2/08)
701: Addie Joss no-hitter vs. White Sox — 1-0 (4/20/10)
1,000: Sept. 1, 1913 vs. White Sox — 7-0
1,057: Nap Lajoie gets his 3,000th hit vs. Yankees — 5-3 (9/27/14)
1,207: Ray Caldwell no-hitter vs. Yankees — 3-0 (9/10/19)
2,000: Aug. 28, 1926 vs. Red Sox — 5-1 (second game of doubleheader)
2,200: Babe Ruth hits 500th home run but the Indians defeat the Yankees — 6-5 (8/11/29)
2,315: Wes Ferrell no-hitter vs. St. Louis Browns — 9-0 (4/29/31)
2,528: Earl Averill hits for the cycle vs. Philadelphia Athletics — 15-4 (8/17/33)
3,000: July 8, 1939 — Mel Harder defeats the St. Louis Browns, 5-3
3,050: Bob Feller’s first no-hitter, on Opening Day vs. White Sox — 1-0 (4/16/40)
3,520: Bob Feller’s second no-hitter, vs. Yankees — 1-0 (4/30/46)
3,583: Last win at League Park, vs. Senators — 5-1 (9/19/46)
3,615: Don Black no-hitter vs. Philadelphia A’s — 3-0 (7/10/47)
3,702: Bob Lemon no-hitter vs. Tigers — 2-0 (6/30/48)
3,760: Indians defeat the Red Sox to advance to World Series s– 8-3 (10/4/48)
3,978: Bob Feller’s third no-hitter, vs. Tigers — 3-0 (7/1/51)
4,000: Aug. 1, 1951: Lou Brissie pitches the Tribe to an 8-6 win over the Senators
5,000: May 15, 1963: Behind Mudcat Grant, the Tribe defeats the Kansas City Athletics, 1-0
5,264: Sonny Siebert no-hitter vs. Senators — 2-0 (6/10/66)
5,569: Tony Horton hits for the cycle vs. Orioles — 10-9 (7/2/70)
5,862: Dick Bosman no-hitter vs. Oakland A’s — 4-0 (7/19/74)
6,000: June 19, 1976: Indians beat the Royals, 3-0
6,071: Dennis Eckersley no-hitter vs. California Angels — 1-0 (5/30/77)
6,127: Andre Thornton hits for the cycle vs. Red Sox — 13-4 (4/22/78)
6,368: Len Barker’s perfect game vs. Blue Jays – 3-0 (5/15/81)
7,000: Indians beat the A’s on May 17, 1990 – 5-4
7,270: Progressive Field opens, vs. Mariners — 4-3 (4/4/94)
7,421: Indians clinch the AL Central Division vs. Baltimore — 3-2 (9/8/95)
7,762: Jim Thome blasts the longest home run at Progressive Field, 511 feet vs. Kansas City — 9-5 (7/3/99)
7,958: Indians rally from 12 runs down vs. Mariners — 15-14 (8/5/01)
8,000: April 26, 2002 — Indians 7, Rangers 4
8,114: Travis Hafner hits for the cycle vs. Twins — 8-3 (8/14/03)
8,375: Indians tie single season grand slam record vs. White Sox — 14-1 (9/25/06)
8,472: Indians clinch the AL Central vs. Oakland — 6-2 (9/23/07)
8,931: Indians Clinch 2013 Wild Card. (5-1 vs Twins) September 29, 2013
9,000: Indians beat Royals, 6-1, for No. 9,000!
The Indians have won five of their last six road games and enter tonight’s game just 2 victories shy of recording their 9,000th all-time win as a franchise.
MOST ALL-TIME AMERICAN LEAGUE FRANCHISE WINS
- New York Yankees: 9,897-7,479 (.570)
- Boston Red Sox: 9,133-8,537 (.517)
- Cleveland Indians: 8,998-8,676 (.509)
- Detroit Tigers: 8,992-8,706 (.508)
- Chicago White Sox: 8,914-8,744 (.505)
More from today’s game notes:
Kluber has registered 205 strikeouts through his first 27 starts of the season – 3rd in the American League, trailing only David Price (221) and Max Scherzer (209) – and currently ranks in the top 10 among all qualified AL hurlers in each of the following statistical categories: wins (13, T6th), ERA (2.46 3rd), innings (186.1, 3rd), WHIP (1.08, 7th) strikeouts per nine innings (9.90, 5th), strikeout:walk ratio (4.88, 6th), opposing batting average (.229, 7th) and pitches per inning (14.9, 5th).
Kluber has allowed just 7 earned runs over 54.2 innings in 7 second-half starts; he owns MLB’s lowest ERA (1.15) and opposing batting average (.172; 33-192) over that span…also ranks among second-half Major League leaders in: innings (54.2, T6th) and strikeouts (63, T2nd).
Coming off a pair of scoreless 9.0 inning starts on 7/24 at KC & 7/30 vs. Seattle (more below), Kluber has allowed just 5 earned runs over his last 46.0 innings, recording 53 strikeouts against just 9 walks over that stretch.
Zach Walters came to Cleveland in the July 31 trade that sent Asdrubal Cabrera to Washington … and all he’s done since, it seems, is hit big homers.
Walters has six homers in 13 games with Cleveland, and nine homers this season (between Cleveland and Washington) in 87 at-bats. That’s a pace of a homer every 9.67 ABs. (For perspective, Babe Ruth’s career rate was 1 homer in every 11.67 at-bats – and to be clear, we’re not comparing the two.)
His homers have been clutch, too: Of Walters’ six HRs with the Tribe, four have given the team the lead – like on Tuesday night vs. the White Sox – and the other two have tied games.
Walters is the only player in Indians franchise history to hit six homers sin his firsts 13 games with the club, according to Elias. Those with five in their first 13 games with the organization: Leon Wagner (1964), Luis Medina (1988), Juan Gonzalez (2001), Jayson Nix (2010), Jason Kipnis (2011), Mark Reynolds (2013).
With a 2.88 ERA since the All-Star break, the Tribe’s pitching staff owns the 3rd-lowest second-half figure in the Majors…that includes a 3.31 ERA by the rotation (5th in A.L., 7th in MLB) and a 2.12 ERA by the bullpen (best in the Majors)
The Indians rotation was charged with 5 ER in 4.2 innings last night – one-third of the staff’s total over previous 13 games (15 ER/79.0 IP)… that said, Cleveland starters still own a 2.15 ERA (20 ER/83.2 IP) over the club’s last 14 games since Aug. 9 (10-4 record), collecting 91 K’s against 23 walks while holding opponents to a .189 clip (56-297).
The Indians are in a stretch of 30 games in 30 dates, caused in part by a rainout on June 18 at home vs. the Angels. According to Elias, it would mark Cleveland’s longest consecutive streak of game dates since May 21 – June 27, 1968 when the Indians played 41 games over a span of 38 consecutive dates (3 DH’s).
With a 2.42 ERA since Aug. 1, the Tribe’s pitching staff owns the 2nd-lowest figure in the Majors this month (13-8 team record)…that includes a 2.57 ERA by the rotation (2nd in MLB, SEA: 2.26) and a 2.17 ERA by the bullpen (3rd in A.L., 4th in MLB).
Cleveland’s rotation owns a 1.71 ERA (15 ER/79.0 IP) over the club’s last 13 games since Aug. 9 (9-4 record), collecting 87 strikeouts against 22 walks while holding opponents to a .176 clip (49-278).
Over the same 13-game span (since Aug. 9), Cleveland relievers have reinforced the rotation’s performance by posting a 1.29 ERA (6 ER/42.0 IP).
Northbrook, Ill., native Jason Kipnis has hit safely in 22 of his 24 career games here at U.S. Cellular Field, batting .382 (34-89) with 7 2B’s, one 3B, 5 HR, 21 RBI and 11 SB (11-for-11).
The Tribe is 13-8 in August (4th in A.L., 5th in MLB) with 6 games remaining, as club is seeking to finish .500-or-better for a 4th straight month.
The Indians have begun a stretch that will see the Indians play 28 of their final 39 games against A.L. Central foes
You can own a piece of Progressive Field history, as a limited number of the ballpark’s turnstiles are available for purchase!
The turnstiles have been used for 20 years, and are a must-have for any hardcore Indians fan – and would be a perfect addition to any Man Cave.
They’ve been authenticated by Major League Baseball and are available by calling or visiting the Progressive Field Team Shop at 216-420-HITS.
–Photos by David Cleveland (and if you get the reference from a popular sitcom that’s not off the air, kudos to you!)
Lots of new faces in the Tribe clubhouse these days, so we’re going to help you get to know some of the guys in a new “Get To Know” feature. We’ll ask about baseball stuff, non-baseball stuff and more.
Next up – TJ House, who earlier this season had a wild couple days in his second callup to the bigs. TJ was born in Slidell, La., and resides in Picayune, Miss., thus the southern flavor here.
Born: Slidell, La.
Resides: Picayune, Miss.
College/school: Committed to Tulane before signing with Indians
How acquired: 16th-round selection in 2008 MLB Amateur Draft
Best memory in an Indians uniform?: Pitching at Fenway Park – lot of history there
Other sports played?: Played soccer and swam in high school, but quit them each for baseball
Favorite visiting city/ballpark?: Yankee Stadium or Safeco Field (Mariners)
Favorite non-baseball activity?: I like to travel overseas; my favorite spot I have visited is London, and I really want to go to Italy.
Favorite place to visit/restaurant in Cleveland?: Urban Farmer Steakhouse in the new Westin hotel – really good. Awesome.
Favorite TV show?: Not a whole lot of time, but it’s Homeland right now.
Favorite non-baseball teams?: New Orleans Saints, of course. (I will have my Saints stuff on – a Jimmy Graham jersey — when they play the Browns here on Sept. 14.)
Favorite band/music artist?: Garth Brooks
Favorite Twitter account you follow?: @Saints, @DrewBrees
Funniest teammate?: Tyler Holt (Holt, by the way, was featured in Get to Know earlier)
Best dressed teammate?: Michael Brantley … no, Nick Hagadone
Who has the best hair/worst hair?: I would say Kip but he cut his off … OK, Kipnis.
Who has the best tweets?: I’ll say Kipnis again. (Follow House, by the way, at @THouse25)
–Photos by David Cleveland
Lake County Captains reliever Justin Brantley had a doctor in the stands during his outing on Monday, and it wasn’t because he was injured.
Justin’s cousin and Tribe outfielder Michael Brantley spent his day off at Classic Park, watching the Indians minor leaguer compete. Dr. Smooth was not so much there to coach his cousin as he was to cheer him on as a fan.
“I’m kind of almost watching a younger brother play,” Michael, 27, said. “Watching his development from just a year ago or two and how well he’s doing now and how successful he is now — it’s like watching your younger brother develop.
“He looked great out there, very composed. His mechanics were fluid; he wasn’t overthrowing the ball. He’s a competitor. I get excited when I watch him pitch.”
25 game-worn jerseys will be auctioned; autographed Mystery Baseballs also for sale
WHAT: The Cleveland Indians Wives Association will auction off game-worn Tribe jerseys on Saturday night before and during the Indians game vs. the Houston Astros. The auction will take place outside Section 156 and will feature jerseys worn by all 25 members of the active roster during Friday night’s game against the Twins. Autographed Mystery Baseballs also will be for sale.
Proceeds from “Shirts Off Their Backs” and the association’s previous “Tribe Treasures” auction benefit various Cleveland-area charities.
WHEN: Saturday, August 23; 4:30PM-top of the 7th inning
WHERE: Section156, Progressive Field