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6.08.2011

Skid Stoppers: Unearned Run Enough for Carrasco's Coming Out Party

Nino Colla | Wednesday, June 08, 2011 | | | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips
The streak is over! The streak is over! The longest losing skid of the year has finally come to an end.

June 7th 2011
Minnesota Twins - 0
Cleveland Indians - 1
W: Carlos Carrasco (5-3) L: Francisco Liriano (3-6) S: Chris Perez (15)


Photo - Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports
Anemic offense was no match for Carlos Carrasco in this one. In what was perhaps his best start as a major leaguer, Carrasco was two outs away from a complete game shutout.

It would have been the first complete game shutout for a Tribe pitcher this season, but as Manny Acta said, he'd have felt really stupid if he let Carrasco lose that game. So the guy who's paid to close them out came in and got the final two outs with emphasis after Carlos gave up a hit with one out.

Carrasco was incredible. Not only did he give up just the two hits through the first eight innings, he gave up just one walk. 

This is exactly what we've been waiting for from Car² for some time now. We thought he had turned the corner after the start before last, but then the last start he made set things back. It looked like same old inconsistent Carrasco was still there. But that was not he usual Carrasco we are used to seeing out there last night.

"I'm happy," Carrasco said. "The key is I need to be focused. Sometimes I try to be too perfect. Sometimes I just want to just strikeout somebody and I throw too many pitches. Today was good."

Acta reminds us that Carrasco is still a really young guy and he's still growing into what he's capable of.

"You have to be patient with him," Acta said. "You really don't want to label a guy who's 24 years old too early. With the pitcher's frame that he has, and the stuff that he has, I can wait for somebody like that. Hopefully this year he turns a corner. He pitched well for us in the second half of the season and he's got the stuff to be very good. I have a lot of confidence in him, but he needs to have confidence in himself, too, and get out there and do it."

You sometimes forget that he still hasn't completed a full season in the majors. But this is just a glimpse of what he's capable of, and if we can get him onto that track, he's a middle to top of the rotation guy, even if guys like White and Pomeranz develop into top of the rotation guys.

Carrasco needs to do more of what he did. Of his 8.1 innings, Carrasco recorded 13 groundouts. So adding in his strikeouts, he recorded just three outs via the fly-ball. We know he has a tendency to give up home runs, so if he's keeping the ball down, there isn't much that can hurt him, because his stuff is nasty.

It was apparently extra nasty last night though, as Michael Cuddyer said he was really effective because the sinker was moving a lot more than it had been in the past.

Just taking a peak at his game log. He hasn't recorded as few fly-ball outs as he did last night. He did have four to 16 groundouts against Tampa, but he gave up four runs in five innings. Six strikeouts also ties a season high for him.

As for the offense.Yeah... Francisco Liriano was making his first start off the DL and it was rough early on. He let up a few baserunners and put himself into some sticky spots that he got out of. The spot he couldn't get out of was a Carlos Santana double that got compounded by an error by Delmon Young in left field. The double happened with no outs, but you have to imagine that a runner at third with no outs is a better situation than second base with no outs. Still that run needed to score regardless of it it started at second or third.

But the Indians squandered several other chances early. Brantley and Cabrera once again started the game off with some fire, two on and nobody out turned into first and third with one out, but a Santana double play ended that.

Then a Orlando Cabrera double and Hannahan walk with two outs feel by the side with Lou Marson hitting.

And that was it. Sheepishly though, Duncan believed one was enough for Carlos.

"I kinda did," Duncan replied. "Yeah."

Won't hold up in many other games, so they better use it as motivation to score more runs.

Random Details...

If you thought yesterday's lineup for the Twins lacked a punch... Luke Hughes (.247), Brian Dinkelman (.167), Rene Rivera (.217), and Matt Tolbert (.208) should scare the pants off you for a bottom four for the Twins lineup. Makes sense though. Hold them and you're good. Seemed pretty simple for Carrasco.

The Indians meanwhile countered with Orlando Cabrera (.246), Jack Hannahan (.224), and Lou Marson (.185). Um yeah... More on that in a second.

Orlando Cabrera collected his 1,999th hit in this one and is one away from 2,000. Hopefully he gets it before the end of June.

Lou Marson had a stolen base, but with a 2-0 count and Brantley at the plate, the hit and run was on. A foul ball forced him to retreat to first. And then he got picked off, damnit.

Marson is now 0-for-his-last-22. At least he walked.

[CORD PHELPS IS FREED]

It has happened! Cord Phelps has finally been freed!

Dennis Manoloff of the PD had the scoop, so he gets the credit. Cord Phelps will get promoted to Cleveland, likely today. There has yet to be any word on who he will be replacing, but remember he needs a 40-man roster spot, so it could be anyone.

The candidates? Austin Kearns, Jack Hannahan, Shelley Duncan, and Adam Everett. I think Hannahan sticks around, if they were to do that they'd do it with Chisenhall. Duncan I believe is highly valued in what his role actually is, pinch-hitter, occasional DH, and team morale booster. So even though he's struggling, this isn't what the Indians wanted to use him for.

So that leaves us with Adam Everett and Austin Kearns. If it was me, I think I'd get rid of Kearns, only because they have their outfield healthy right now in Choo, Brantley, and Sizemore. Buck is the main backup, and Duncan can play there in a pinch. If emergency ever arises, I think we can feel safe with what we saw from Zeke Carrera.

So there really is no need to carry six outfielders. Also, Phelps can play the outfield.

But, Phelps is mainly an infielder and that could mean that Adam Everett has run his course with the team. It simply wouldn't shock me if the corresponding move was Adam Everett. I'd pick Kearns, but if I didn't pick Kearns, I'd pick Everett. And that's who I think the Indians will end up picking to dump.

This is the right time. With Hafner still weeks away, the offense sputtering, especially at positions Phelps can play (second, third, DH), the team needs a spark offensively. They also need to see what Phelps brings to the table. His ceiling may very well be a utility player, if so, that's fine for the future. But if he's something more, you can create a great problem to have. If you have a surplus of good infielders, you give yourself some great trading chips in the future.

But if Phelps brings that bat that he's displayed in Columbus (.299 AVG, .391 OBP, 7 HR, 40 RBI, 31 R) to Cleveland, all the more better. You have that open spot with your DH to get Phelps regular playing time. Use that opportunity to see what you have.

And more importantly, Free Cord Phelps!

[GOLDEN FEDORA - MAY]

As if there was any doubt... Congratulations go out to Asdrubal Cabrera for winning the Manny Acta Golden Fedora of Greatness for the Month of May. He now joins Justin Masterson. Cabrera received six votes, Chad Durbin got the only other vote. 

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Your Travis Hafner update for the day. Batting Practice looks to be a few days away according to Manny Acta. Hafner is still have "routine" sessions where he hits off a tee and takes soft-toss. It would appear though that Hafner will go out on a rehab assignment when he is ready.

"I think he will have to because he's been out for too long," Acta said. "We're not talking about 15 days here. It's going to be three weeks [on Wednesday] and he's not even taking batting practice yet. So after three weeks, you take batting practice and it'll mount up to a month. He's going to have to go see some pitches somewhere."

Acta also said that the lack of Hafner could be used as an excuse, but every team has injuries. 

Vinnie Pestano didn't get into the game once again, but again he wasn't needed. It would appear that the back issues are behind him though. It has been a full week since Pestano last officially pitched in a game. He did have an "appearance" before being yanked without making a pitch on Saturday.

Wes Hodges is gone. The former "third baseman of the future" as well as 40-man roster occupant was let go to make room for Nick Johnson. Hodges couldn't cut it at third defensively and was moved to first. Even then though, Hodges ran into one year where he was plagued by injuries.

Since then, it's been rough going for him. He was DFAed, claimed by the Rockies, only to be DFAed and re-claimed by the Indians. He's sort of been the odd-man out for Columbus this year at first base with numerous players like Jared Goedert, Jordan Brown, Travis Buck, and Cord Phelps occupying first and the DH spot.

Day Two of the MLB Draft has been completed and the Indians came away with some more high-end talent out of High School. They followed up the Lindor pick with the second round pick of Dillon Howard, one of the top High School arms available at the time they picked.

As noted yesterday in the quick recap of yesterday's picks, Howard has committed to Arkansas.

There is still 20 more picks to go though and that all wraps up today at noon.

Some of the potential new Indians are on Twitter...

3rd Round Catcher Jake Lowery @jlowery3
5th Round Pitcher Will Roberts @WRoberts25
18th Round Pitcher Shawn Armstrong @shawn14ecu
19th Round HS Pitcher Shawn Morimando @morimando11
20th Round HS Pitcher Dillon Peters @DJPeters7

[RAFAEL PEREZ TWEET WATCH]

Chirp Chirp!

Days Without a Tweet: 21

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