The hammer came down on Carlos Carrasco for his beaning of Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis on Tuesday, his first start since 2011 and his first start since serving a reduced five game suspension for a similar situation against the Kansas City Royals.
|Photo - AP via Yahoo! Sports|
Carrasco was suspended eight games and fined, according to Tom Withers of the AP, $3,000.
That's peanuts, the game amount, not so much.
Eight games? A repeat offender will get a more heavier punishment, especially since he technically had no games pitched between the serving his last suspension and this incident.
The big question, of course, surrounds the idea of if he was intentionally trying to hit Youkilis or not.
Does anyone remember the situation in which Carlos Carrasco originally was suspended for way back when in 2011?
In case you forgot, let's take a trip down memory lane. Of course the major detail, that it came one pitch after a home run, is the one mentioned because it was the exact situation in the instance earlier this week against the Yankees.
However, not only did Carrasco not actually hit Billy Butler last time (the pitch went behind Butler's head), it came after a home run in which current Blue Jays, then-Royals outfielder Melky Cabrera hit a grand slam and then stood in the batters box to watch his damage.
Cabrera contended he didn't do it on purpose.
Carrasco contended he didn't throw at Butler on purpose.
"I didn't throw at anybody," Carrasco said. "The baseball just ran away. I know it looked bad after the home run, but nothing I can do right there."
Right, I don't believe any of that. What made the situation different though was the fact that Carrasco's pitch was purposeful. He can say he didn't do it all he wants, but he did it. He had the control, he simply was sending a message. Don't stand in the box. That pitch was meant to send a message. Carrasco was not lying when he said the baseball ran away. It did, but he wanted it to.
At the time, Manny Acta "talked" to Carrasco, leading us all to believe he did do it on purpose. He was even called immature by Acta.
Let's now fast forward to what happened against the Yankees and what Carrasco said after it.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had the best line, basically saying that whether he intended to or not, no one will ever know, but also in that regardless, it did not look good. Of course it didn't look good. The guy just gave up a home run and then he hits a dude?
The different to me in this one as to why the first one was intentional, where as this one wasn't? Perhaps in the response after. Carrasco did not apologize after the pitch that he threw behind Butler. Which speaks to me in that he had purposely tried to send a message to the Royals for what Cabrera did by standing there.
He apologized after hitting Youkilis, which leads me to believe he actually had no intentions of hitting Youkilis. Am I crazy for believing that? Perhaps. Does it mean I disagree with the suspension? No, but more on that in a second.
In addition to apologizing, he practically fell down delivering the pitch. No control. The guy was abysmal after two outs against the Yanks, it was pathetic.
So, Carrasco gives up home run, throws to Youkilis, completely falls down while doing so, hits him. Apologizes after the game. No benches cleared or brawls were had. Carrasco got ejected and will not get an eight game suspension whenever it is the Indians decide to call upon him.
Some suggest it will be in September when the Indians don't have to deal with roster issues, like they put up with just to get Carrasco that start on Tuesday and into the rotation.
Scott Kazmir is coming back soon and it seems as if Trevor Bauer or Corey Kluber are more in-line for the next opportunity anyway, it could be very likely September before we see Carrasco again.
And perhaps that is a good thing. Carrasco may need this trip to Columbus. Not only are there immaturity questions that stem from this, whether he intended to throw at Youkilis or not, he has some obvious pitching issues. His velocity is back, he was hitting mid 90's, at times 96 on the radar gun. He was getting outs, until he got two of them and everything went wrong.
He needs fine-tuned and fixed mechanically. Because whatever went wrong, in my mind, went horribly wrong when he hit Youkilis. Yes I don't think it was on purpose, I think it really did get away from him. How could it not when he's falling off the mound like he did?
But does that mean he doesn't deserve a slap on the wrist? Maybe he doesn't, but given the situation, if you are MLB and the Commissioner's office, you have no other choice. You have to make a decision based off what you are seeing, contextually. Carrasco gives up a home run, hits Youkilis. Previous history, Carrasco gives up a home run, throws at Billy Butler.
You have to. Doesn't make it right or wrong, you just have to. We can choose to believe Carrasco slipped or we can choose to believe he has immaturity issues.
All of that aside, he has some pitching issues that he needs to resolve. And the Indians need him to resolve them. With a rotation that clearly is leaking as bad as some basements with all the rain in Northeast Ohio, the Indians need Carrasco to figure it out and return to a point where he was starting to look like a major piece to the rotation.
He has the stuff, as even evidenced by his start on Tuesday. Because even if Trevor Bauer turns out to be everything and more, there are still spots in this rotation that need filled behind Justin Masterson down the road. And as the last and only real viable piece to the Cliff Lee deal, the Indians need something to stick.
Michael Brantley was the saving grace to trading CC Sabathia, no thanks to Matt LaPorta. So with that in mind, and Jason Knapp officially retired, the Indians need Carlos Carrasco to turn out for the sake of trading Cliff Lee.
Until we meet again Car²...